OK, so I finally got the opportunity to visit Occupy DC. I am drawn to protests like my kids are drawn to new episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba! -- strongly. So a friend and I headed down there and visited the little tent city and talked to the occupiers. We chose perhaps the worst time to visit -- pretty late at night -- so most of the people who were out and about were either pretty tired or pretty inebriated.
There were some charming scenes, such as the guy trying to sweet talk the cute girl by talking politics. Some signs disturbed me (e.g. "Please! Do not spit in the water fountain!") while others practically asked to be liberated into my home (e.g. "We could always use more help with the dishes!").
Unfortunately, the conversations I hoped for didn't materialize. I fully acknowledge that this was my logistical error in choosing a late and chilly night to visit.
But when I read this story ("Man found dead in Occupy New Orleans encampment") about a man dead for two days being discovered in the Occupy zone, I wondered whether DC didn't have a similar problem. I'm not saying the encampment smelled of death, exactly, but it really did smell bad.
My husband would be the first to tell you that my nose should be examined by science for its ability to detect hints of vanilla a mile away, so perhaps I'm overly sensitive.
But both my companion and I were somewhat overcome by the stench. Hints of urine, to be sure, but there was something else that was just not quite right. This strikes me as a huge marketing problem. Convincing people to camp out is one thing, convincing people to camp out in a smelly enclave? Much more difficult.