The Polity, p. 3

Agh. Annoying people next to me have begun playing the guitar and singing Beatles songs LOUDLY. I look over, and Jesus-pamphlet-woman is among them. Uccchhh. They are redeemed when a crazy guy on the other side of the path begins singing along, off key, and loudly, as they all gleefully butcher "Get Back," in the name of the dead, I suppose. Crazy guy then moves onto "Hey Jude". The Jesus people are still singing "Get Back."

I give 65 cents to a totally cracked out girl begging for change, because I overhear her saying how horrible those Beatles-singing people are.

What I really like about being here, despite the fact that everyone seems to have come tonight with their soapbox in tow, is that this is not really a pre-selected group. Not a Noam Chomsky audience, where he's preaching to the choir, or a Bill O' Reilly type scene. It's just whoever showed up, or wandered by (or perhaps lives here in the park), and wanted to join the fun. It's open to whoever, and all types are here. That's what's important.

I go back to the 14th street side of the park, where the arguing and petition signing, and candle lighting and inane commentary, is going on.


A man storms away from a group of people, yelling as he walks straight out of the park-
...NOBODY is going to tell me that Arafat is a leader of people. Arafat, Arafat is a fucking bullshit artist. Arafat is a fucking robber of his own people. Arafat robbed money from his own treasury...

I couldn't hear anymore because he was off, walking east on 14th, still talking.

The official ceremony on TV brought me to tears, world leaders awkwardly holding candles handed to them by Michael Bloomberg, who seemed to be adopting the solemn but self-pleased air of a boy about to recite his bar mitzvah portion.

The scene in Union Square is less pure and searching than last year. Still, it is rather addictive, since you want to see what happens.

I sit down, trying to write it all down, and notice two women next to me having a birthday cake. I tell them happy birthday and find out that they are a mother and daughter from Rego Park, and the mother had such a shitty birthday last year (!) on September 11, that the daughter had promised her a cannoli-filled cake this year. I tell them that my birthday is on Sept 12, and I have two close friends with Sept 11 birthdays. We all sing happy birthday and eat cake with strangers.

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October 2002

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