Up at 5:15. Pack my shopping cart with cushion for sleeping, sign boards… on Dillworth Plaza at 7 AM. Police—a strong but discreet presence. Not quite invisible, but ‘show of force’ not in the plan. Entrances to City Hall courtyard closed. Glassy towers gleaming in morning sun. Sky absolutely clear. In the 50’s. Weather report: be in the 70’s by afternoon. Waiting for peeps in the Food working group.
TV news trucks more visible than cops.
5 PM … took a brief nap on the cushion I brought. Helicopters overhead. Drums, People talking, talking. People talking everywhere. Face to face. Not on face book. Not typing up petitions for MoveOn….
Last meeting after breakdown—food put away as best we could manage, boxes stacked on tables. Worry about rats. This morning we had bread, two small jars of peanut butter, apples—not a lot more. Tonight—three 6 foot tables loaded with boxes of produce, canned goods, bread.. most of it dropped off corner of Chestnut and Broad—people stopping, unloading from their cars. Discuss plans for tomorrow. Friends Center offering generous use of kitchen—have to keep to available hours. Turns for breakfast lunch… food teams become servant-class if we don’t give each other relief to attend meetings, circulate, talk to people, go to GA’s, become part of the community conversation. Exhaused. 19 hour day. More a part of food group at end of day, less facilitation etc… numb, numb & sleep walking, deliriously happy and ready for sleep
5:45 AM. Slept on my matt. 2 quilted blankets—to sleep with noise of late night traffic, sirens, voices, voices everywhere, people talking… gradually grows quieter, fades seamlessly into sleep where my dreams seem no different—hear “MIC CHECK! … mic CHECK”… in my
Sleep. Aware even in sleep how quiet, how strangely it becomes. Open my eyes and see shadow sleepers wrapped in blankets. Reasonably warm
City comes to life, perfectly symmetrical, waking as to falling into sleep. First busses que on Broad. A street vender backs in his cart across the street. I fold my blankets, take my medications, rinse my mouth with bottled water. Pull on the heavy sweater I got from an Ecuadorian street vendor years ago… for ten bucks.
Walk the rounds. Shadow tents. Shadow sleepers. Here and there someone awake. We meet and talk, recount the night. A young woman, one of our food crew…something about her—wonder if she’s from Mennonite background?...sleeping on two chairs by our food tables… a single blanket. She looks cold. I take one of my quilted blankets and cover her up.
The conversations begin again… the city permit. Couldn’t decide at the evening GA. Do we want to ask for it? Do we go without? Are we being co-opted by their being nice? What does the city get out of this? Tales of the night. Mayor Nutter came out and talked with people around 1:30 this morning. Couple of us talk with Police Chief Ramsey. I mention my concern for pedestrians and workers who can’t pass through City Hall. “If we promise to stay out of the Courtyard would you open it up? Say’s they’ve had people complain about that. He appreciates our concern, will take that into consideration. We talk about sanitation. He says he’ll ask the head of City Santiation if they can schedule a truck to do a pick-up once a day.
A man from the Medical team says we need to have an education meeting on dealing with cold. Can live 30 days with food, he says—3 days without water. 3 hours loss of body heat enough to kill you.
Man comes by with two boxes of Dunkin Munchkins. It’s getting light. I open them and put them out on the breakfast & Snack tables.
The day begins…