Occupying Fort Bragg

It’s Friday afternoon and I feel the need to occupy someplace other than my home office. I grab my camera and head downtown.

I walk by Bainbridge Park and a cryptic message catches my eye.

From there, I continue to the Mendocino Cookie Company where I occupy myself by purchasing two chocolate chip cookies and a latte. I know, I know—I’m playing with fire by ingesting caffeine and chocolate so late in the day, but I’m itchin’ to live large.

I move south along Main Street to Alder, an intersection dominated by branches of two major banks—Bank of America and Chase. I want to see how Occupy Mendocino Coast is shaking up the corner. (Their website invites people to occupy this area every Friday and Sunday from 3:00-5:00pm.)

I meet Linda who stands proud with her signs and Occupy visor. When I ask about the others, she says, “Most of them don’t show up until 4:00.” Their tardiness doesn’t dissuade her from standing alone. I’m impressed by her persistence and courage.

I seek out the Bank of America security guard hired to protect the premises from Linda. As I approach, he cautiously returns my greeting. I tell him I want to take his picture for my blog. He says, “Yes, I know. I heard you talking to that woman.”

I’m awestruck by his superhuman auditory powers (although he may have been hiding in the bushes while I spoke with Linda). It’s truly remarkable that he was able to pick out a conversation amid all the raucous protesting. Apparently Bank of America hires only the best.

I ready my camera.

“You can’t take my picture, mam.”

“No?”

“No mam.”

I’m thinking I can nab a shot, quickly bust out of Taser range, and dust him over the long haul. After all, I completed a triathlon last year and can run a few miles before falling on my face in a puddle of my own vomit. He’s on the portly side and stands around all day doing nothing besides opening the door for bank customers.

But I’m not in the mood for an altercation. I have cookies and a latte to finish.

I walk past The Purity to feel the vibe. One of my favorite street people, Hans [not his real name] is cavorting with a woman on the sidewalk. We have a fairly close encounter which allows me to recognize her, but won’t allow me to pinpoint the source.

I continue to walk north and stop to occupy the bench outside of Understuff. It then hits me—Hans’ new girl shows up in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Booking Logs more frequently than Heidi Klum shows up on fashion magazine covers.

I place my coffee cup on the bench arm rest and spot another message.

Who is this Bean? What did J. Jones and Kaspar do to cause Bean to place these messages in such random places?

It’s nearly 5:00 and the Tip Top Lounge across the street is gearing up for a night of drunken delight. One of the outside smoking regulars hollers, “Hey! Where’s your dog?”

I shrug my shoulders and raise my hands, palms up—the universal sign that I only speak Norwegian.

“Come on over and I’ll buy you a drink.”

“No takk [Norwegian for thank you],” I say with an apologetic smile.

I un-occupy myself from the bench and use my caffeinated fuel to propel me down the street. I return home fully satisfied with an afternoon spent occupying Fort Bragg. I now understand why the movement is so popular. I’ll have to do it again soon.

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6 thoughts on “Occupying Fort Bragg

  1. You could write your own story.
    Love following you around town. I’m part of the “occupy my butt in the chair” movement. Bless you for making my personal sit-in more livable.

  2. Terrific post about life in your little spot on the globe.

    The message is not from someone named Bean & it is not to be taken literally. It is a missive from someone named Elohim, A God on another planet far, far away, called Kolob & it is written in code with cosmic dust. Trust me on this one.

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