Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Excuse me, Uh...Which Ways Hooter's?"

On June 27, 2007 people from all over the U.S. began to gather in downtown Atlanta, Ga, for the 2007 US Social Forum. This forum is basically a gathering of social justice activists, from all over the US, working on a broad range of social issues. They meet, march, network and share their experiences, strateies and ideas on how to make everything from homelessness to the enviornment better.

It is my experience that most people at these particular types of events are of the communist/socialist persuasion and, while I can say I agree with them on some of the issues that we need to address, I do not agree with them on how to address said issues. For instance, (and this was a big theme during the march) socialized medicine. I agree that everybody needs healthcare. But, turning our current healthcare system into a bureaucratic, red-tape, cluster-fuck, government run nightmare is not the way to address that problem. Just look at the VA system and how our vets returning from war are treated to see what socilaized medicine looks like. No thanks.

So, anyway, I was invited to this event for the first day and the first part of the event was a loooooooooooooooooog march through downtown Atlanta. I met up with Rev. Kenny Glasgow of The Ordinary People Society (pictured below) out in front of the hotel and hitched a ride with him and his crew to the Capitol Bldg where the march began.

Even though I knew I was going to be marching I, for some reason, did not go prepared to march. I forgot my hat, forgot my activist clothing, wore flip-flops and a skirt. I am going to attribute my forgetfulness to about a weeks worth of insomnia and stress related to my husbands back surgery. That will wear you out and come near to making your forget your name.

Anyway, Rev. Glasgow happened to have some extra TOPS shirts, which are emblazoned with
on the front.

And this on the back.

Now, everyone knows I am a devout Atheist, and Rev. Glasgow thought it very comical that I had on his "Get High on Jesus" shirt. He took lots of photos and gathered his whole flock around to bear witness for future testifyin', even got some video tape of me wearing it so that he can forever cherish and relive the moment. I found it rather comical myself. It get's better though.

The march got started around 2 p.m. and, while I was in no position to do a scientific crowd estimate, I'd say at least a couple thousand people marched. There were people there supporting socialized medicine, affordable housing, keeping Grady Hospital open, immigrant workers rights, the environment, prison reform, women's rights, name it and somebody had a sign and a flag for it. There was a large truck with a rap band riding on back providing non-traditional marching music.

Behind the truck were some mimes on stilts. You know, general Atlanta/big city type folks. This was a great event for vouyers.

So, we marched, and marched and marched some more. I believe afterwards someone said it was 15 blocks. Now, you might be inclined to think that 15 blocks is an easy go...I'd beg to differ on that. It isn't so much that 15 blocks is a huge distance to travel on foot and the terrain was level for the most part.... It was just extraordinarily hot on the asphalt in downtown Atlanta. And heat like that will suck the life right out of you. I'd put the temp at close to 100 degrees. I didn't have my hat. There were organizers walking through the crowd handing out water and misting folks down....but it was dreadfully hot. I drank some water...but apparently not enough. I got really tired by the end of the march and rested for about half an hour in the shade before deciding to try and drag my half-dead ass back to my hotel.

It was after I got started walking back to the hotel that trouble began. I had asked for directions and was told to go up Piedmont and take a right at "Hooters" onto Andrew Young Int. Blvd. I set out thinking I would only have to go a few blocks. I started out walking with a friend who had parked in the same direction. She and I parted ways at her turnoff and within a minute I found myself lost in downtown Atlanta and on the verge of a heat stroke. I think I may have actually had a small one. I began to get cold chills and started shivering. My vision started blurring, I got dizzy and I felt like I was going to collapse. My heart was literally about to beat out of my chest and the beat was irregular. I was really scared and had to seek out shade a couple of times and rest.

After the second time I rested I decided it was time to ask for directions. Now, picture this. I had forgotten the name of the street the hotel was on and all I could remember was to turn right at "Hooters." So, looking like I am a crazed, red-faced, sweaty lunatic, hair all wild and tangled and sopping wet, wearing a skirt that the wind keeps managing to undo the buttons on (and you know I wasn't wearing drawers either) and a shirt that said "GET HIGH ON JESUS" I began to walk up to people and ask, "Excuse me, uh....which ways Hooters?"

It didn't occur to me at the time exactly what I must have looked like or what the poor souls I encountered might have thought of me. My mind was far from seeing any humor in what was fast becoming a desperate situation not to pass out on the streets of downtown Atlanta wearing no drawers and a shirt that said GET HIGH ON JESUS. Talk about doing in one's own reputation. Yee Haw!! I can see the headline now, "Drawerless Woman Wearing a Shirt Promoting Gettin' High on the Good Lord Goes face down ass up Downtown. Can you help us identify her?" at which point they would show the photo of me facedown on the asphalt with that crazy shirt and my white ass shinin' (blurred of course) in hopes of getting some leads.

After the fourth or fifth person I queried with "Excuse me, uh... which ways Hooters?" someone finally pointed me in the right direction and after about an hour an a half of being lost I finally found my sanctuary. Needless to say when I got to my room I drew a cold bath and soaked myself for an hour head to toe and drank at least a gallon of water and two 7 Ups.

Luckily, I have some friends in Atlanta and last night I had made plans for dinner with one of them. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it, but didn't want to miss it eitehr so I went. My friend had some very high quality cannabis genetics on hand and I partook like mofo. After all, there is scientific proof that if you smoke pot within an hour of having a stroke or heart attack that it prevents brain I'd have to say that this was a medical necessity and a medical emergency. I felt much better afterwards even though today I feel like someone took a sledgehammer to all of my muscles. I imagine it would have been much worse without last nights relief.

There are a few of things to be learned from this story.

1. Marching in the summer heat....that shit is for the birds.

2. If you are gonna do it anyway....put your damn drawers on and wear pants or else you will get "galded." If you need an explanation of what "galded" means email me.

3. Try to find another landmark for recognizing where your hotel is...asking for Hooters (especially if you are a woman wearing a Get High on Jesus shirt) makes people look at you real funny.

I am glad to be able to see humor in this today...but all joking aside please take extra precautions if you are going to be out in the heat for any extended period of time. That stuff is no joke.

I wish I could have stayed for some of todays events....but after I woke up feeling like the inside of my body was made of sand I figured the very best thing for me to do was get my ass to the house and recover.

Here are a few more shots from the march.

Until my next adventure....y'all be good.


HairFarmer said...

Just remember 'Dol, cornstarch works better than talc.

Anonymous said...

Hell yea that was a medical necessity. I bet it sure did help your feel better.