The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Protest

May 7, 2008


It's 1.30 on a Wednesday afternoon. Outside the office, traffic has come to a standstill. On the corner, protesters holding signs are marching on the corner. Angry drivers honk. Protesters ignore and continue to march, signs raised, adamant. I am not sure what they are protesting about -- a Google/Craigslist search turned up nothing.

I, too, would like to protest. March up and down with my signs declaring that the injustice I perceive needs to come to an end. I would like to make everything come to a standstill so that someone, anyone, will just listen. I would like to be adamant about what I want, what I need, how I feel. I would like to ignore the anger of and the inconvenience to others.

I want to protest.

But at the end of the day, when the cops come (as they inevitably do), and they use their pepper spray on you (as they inevitably will), and they drag your limp body into the paddy wagon and hoist you off to jail, what would have been accomplished?

Did you really have a voice in your protest? Did anyone really listen? Did anyone really care? Were you just a one-act drama on the corner that was, at best, mildly annoying? Did you bring change?

And so, the reality hits. I pack away my signs, put away my slogans, quiet myself. The phrase, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" flits across my mind. I realize that at the end of the day, you can say what you want, feel what you want, even do what you want as loudly as you want. But that it can't change the words, feelings and actions of those around you.

I suppose, as much as I hate it and wish it were otherwise, we all have free will. Darn it, even I have free will!

So I use my free will. Will my heart to be quiet, will my mind to stop spinning, will myself not to protest.

1 comment:

madeforjoy said...

Janice, thank you for your honest words. I value your reflections.