Read This, Not That: Finding Community at Zuccotti Park
Writing for the New Yorker, George Packer brings us the story of a Seattle man who lost his job, sold his possessions, and took a cross-country bus to join Occupy Wall Street:
Kachel, exhausted from his cross-country trip, was overwhelmed by the pandemonium. He could barely sleep, as the only bedding he had was a thermal wrap made of Mylar. At one point, someone told him that a shower could be arranged at the comfort station. When he arrived, there was no shower to be had, and suddenly he was confronted with the fact of being broke and homeless in a strange city. He withdrew into himself, curling up to sleep in his fleece and waterproof shell on the steps near the east side of the park.
One day, Kachel overheard a group of young occupiers, who were sitting on the steps just a few feet away, talking about him as if he weren’t there. “He’s not going to make it here doing that,” one of them said. “He isn’t taking care of himself.” They were right—his socks and shoes, drenched in a rainstorm, had been wet for several days. Kachel saw that he couldn’t survive in the park alone. He had to become part of the collective in an unreserved way—something that he’d never done.