Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Knives and Hippies

“Bring the blade through the carrot. Don’t chop. Slice.”
Kim demonstrates Food Not Bombs approved cutting techniques to Oggy, who watches mesmerized with a long knife in his hand and a pile of potatoes and carrots in front of him, seated on a box of community supported propaganda.
“I got it,” says Oggy. He wants to please these sophisticated organizers. They radiate an aura of togetherness that he has never encountered. They are actually working for no money, no reward, with no leader or schedule or funds. It feels improbable that these men and women would voluntarily choose to dig through dumpsters and flee the police not for a better meal for themselves, but a better meal for others. The little slice of their lives that Oggy has seen has touched him deeply. Robert, Kim, Gar, Bob and others were proving that an unconventional community could be grown, intentionally, consensually, peacefully without the benefit of electricity or a car or even the blessings of the state. Abe always cautioned Oggy against defining these conflicts with sports terminology, but he can’t help it. These Food Not Bombs volunteers are fighting a battle against all odds, all ideology, financial, cultural, emotional, legal and metaphysical odds…and they’re prevailing here at the corner of River Street and Levee Spur Road on a patch of browned grass with half blind homeless cripples carrying buckets of water from the river to the wilting community garden. They are prevailing over the state police and the local judges who blockade their efforts and the Mayor’s henchmen of assassins disguised as city council members. They’re winning and Oggy has not been part of a winning team since Middle School cross country track. For the first time in many years he is proud of his company, these revolutionaries, these iconoclasts, especially Robert with his quiet demeanor and soft, unobtrusive humor, never bullying another, merely pointing out his observations. Robert, a walking St. Francis of Assisi, healing the sick and oppressed, carrying buckets of soup across town to the hungry street denizens of Santa Cruz, And Kim compliments her lover Robert because she is assertive, direct, not afraid to offend, never backing down, loud, emotional, slightly embarrassed by her crooked teeth, an anomaly in California, a woman who spends no time on her appearance. He admires this first couple of grassroots organization. He loves them, especially Kim who is slender and gentle and recycles glass and plastic automatically, and washes out plastic bags to reuse, and always composts food.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.