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Fido occupies Oakland, Mammoth

November 11, 2011

“People get the wrong idea about Oakland,” Fido said.

“Yeah, I know. What makes you say that?”

“I was there for more than a month, and I didn’t see anything like the stuff that showed up on the Jon Stewart Show or the TV news.”

Fido leafed through the California section of the Sunday New York Times, pondering the pictures. When Fido reads the papers, it’s awkward because his finger dexterity is poor, and he tends to get distracted easily.

This time, he lingered.

We’d been in Oakland through the most volatile part of the Occupy Oakland demonstrations. Fido watched most of the coverage on television from his vacation lair in the East Bay Hills. There was no tear-gassing in the East Bay Hills.

But downtown it was a different matter.

I was taking a one-month sabbatical, and the building where I worked, seven days a week for four weeks, was right on top of the Tent City, which turned ugly for a couple of afternoons, evenings and nights.
Mostly what made the news was out of the Anarchist Movement — another Oakland anomaly even weirder than the Raiders. Most of the tear-gassing happened when the anarchists took to the streets, usually well after midnight.

Even so, twice we were told that the office was shutting down early on account of the demonstrations, and the BART 12th Street Station closed for a time. But those of us in the building pretty much thought it was a great experience, even though we couldn’t quite put our fingers on what it was all about.

When I’d get home in the evening, Fido was right there at the door. “Hey hey hey hey! What happened today?”

“Nothing out of the usual,” I said.

“You look tired.”

“Thanks, Fido. Oh, wait a minute. There is something that happens pretty much every day in the late mornings. The Alameda County jail is just two blocks from our building. Every day, at about 11 o’clock or so, the people who were arrested the night before come walking up Broadway, back to the Tent City. That’s pretty unusual. It’s like a parade. You can set your watch by it.”

“What’s a watch?”

“You should know, being a watchdog and all.”

“Huh?”

Anyway, that was the way we spent our four weeks in Oakland.

Fido is very proud of himself.

When we got home to the mountains, he had a chat with FJ, the neighbor dog.
“Where the heck were you?” said FJ.

“I occupied Oakland,” Fido said, bragging. I arched an eyebrow.

“But now,” Fido said, “I am occupying Mammoth, and I like this better.”

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