A Walk to a Historic Protest

Food for Thought

My kid told me she wants to join the protest so that she can tell her future children she participated in the historic event. I looked up where the protests are today and found that Avenue D and 9th Street is the closest to us. To kill two birds with one stone, we took our dog on the walk too. Along the way, we passed by her high school, which is now empty, but the lights were on in the cafeteria. She said it’s because they are serving free lunch to poor kids.

I told her that when I was growing up, the thought of having a child never crossed my mind. It’s interesting, I told her, that she already has an internalized gaze of her own child, which is influencing her decisions. At her age, I wasn’t against having a child; I just thought of it as something other people, or other species, did. I’m not sure where that assumption came from. “So, your gaze was nowhere in my brain,” I told her. “That’s why you never did anything cool,” she responded.

Avenue D was crowded, not with the protesters but with the regulars enjoying the sunny, cool weather on the sidewalk. About a third of them were wearing surgical masks on their chins. I think they were going for the look of doctors on break, like they just stepped out of the ER for a quick break from treating rows of COVID patients. I told her to hold her breath when we walk by these fashionable people. Some were clustered so long that we ran out of oxygen.

It turns out that the protest doesn’t start until later. She sounded disappointed, but we didn’t want to join a late protest. Last night, helicopters were flying above us all night long, and this morning, we saw many photos of the destruction.

On the way back, she briefly stopped by her friend’s apartment on the ground floor to say hi through the window. Her friend told her that she looks older now. At their age, one month is equivalent to a year, like for dogs. They lost a few years to the coronavirus.

As we passed by drug addicts and homeless men, she said she feels like she has already seen it all—all the crazy things New York City has to offer—but she still habitually held on to my arm.

The photo is of the dinner she made last night.