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Whose park is it?

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so, i was doing my volunteer gig for the Vancouver Folk music festival last night. I get to hang around the park in the evening, and make sure people don’t fling themselves off the steps of the stages or poke themselves in the eye with tent poles. Last night part of my job was to sit at an entrance to the park and record all the license numbers of the vehicles coming in and out.

It’s almost ready, the stages are all set up, and water hoses are installed, and generators are on the grounds, to be positioned today, and the out houses are lining the perimeter and the fencing is nearly all up now, too. It looks like a festival site, like a small village is about to be built.

I was sitting there with my clipboard, and this man came over to me. he was pulling a very neatly packed cart, with a drum strapped on the top, and he wore a guitar on his back. he was Aboriginal. His skin a very dark toffee brown. His nose was big and bulbous, the kinda nose one gets after frequent internal applications of alcohol. His black eyes were red rimmed. His clothes were clean and a bit frayed at the hems. He wore a beat up straw hat. He asked in a mumbly voice if he could come into the park.

“Sure, come on in”

he hesitated, “Can I go over there?” he asked, gesturing over there to the south.

“The park’s open, it’s all yours, please,” i said.

he thanked me and entered and went off to wooded area across the way. Lots of men stay there, I think year round.

I should have said,  “the park is all yours, man. should be me asking you for permission.”

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About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, under-employed, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. I play accordion better than I did, and i'm learning the concertina. Slowly.

2 responses »

  1. Yes, I appreciate what you are saying. The land was stolen from the original inhabitants in North America. These people had lived here, mostly living in a way that did not damage the earth’s web of life (ecosystems) for at least 10,000 years. Then it was stolen from them by men who came because they had destroyed/overpopulated the land where they lived and overpopulated it. It was given to the male descendants of men who stole it. The descendents of the men who stole it are raping it in ways that are intolerable.

    It is interesting to me that in the past I’ve often written “the people who stole it” instead of “the men who stole it.” But clearly, it was the men who did this. The women who came with these men had no power and mostly could not even “own” the land. When women actually “inherited” they were most frequently locked away in mental institutions so that males could get their hands on it. I once found the title search to the property in a town where my great grandparents once lived. The title showed that it had been deeded by the U.S. gov’t (stolen from native people who owned it). It was divided up and owned by a husband and wife, the husband died, and the wife owned it. She was put in a mental institution and it was deeded over to her closest male relatives. My great-grandparents bought the house from them. This was quite common.

    One comment about people with bulbous noses and bloodshot eyes. They are often mischaracterized as heavy drinkers. In fact, these are signs of a hereditary condition that affects the tissue of the nose and the blood vessels in the eyes. W.C. Fields, who was not an alcoholic, is an example of this. He played an alcoholic as a character, perhaps in part because of this stereotype.

    Many things can make this condition worse, and alcohol is only one of them. Exposure to heat, cold, and sun will also cause this condition to get much worse, and many homeless people are exposed to the elements and thus mischaracterized. The name of the condition is rosacea. It runs in my family. My brother, who is a teetotaler, has these characteristics. He had a job where he worked outdoors summer and winter, for many years. Often, I fear, homeless people are seen as being alchoholics, when they look like this, but my guess is that many of them are not. I think that rosacea is always the cause of this, it cannot be caused by alcohol in the absence of rosacea. (I imagine a Venn diagram)

    Reply

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