I've been discouraged as of late. Just when the shutdown ended, rumors spread that the BART strike would resume. Normally I'm an Union Girl. Look for the Union label, solidarity now! Let's join hands and sing "Joe Hill!" Or as they said in MST3k about unions "Pete Seeger, Weavers join in!"
What made it worse was the fact that in the Bay Area we had no idea when it was going to happen. The news would say "Well prepare for a BART strike tomorrow," then people would go to bed thinking okay, we'll hit the road at five. Then at five people would wake up and surprise! BART is running today! Huzzah! But wait! They might be striking tomorrow! It went on and on. As someone who doesn't drive (My learning disability affects my peripheral vision, which is needed for driving) it became incredibly anxious making. I had no control over the situation.
Many people are badmouthing BART workers. They're highly paid, what's the deal. I understand, but I'm doubting they really want to be spit at and have people yell at them "I want your job bitches!" I blame people who do not understand the fact that BART is so necessary for people, especially people of disabilities. We are told we can't do so many things, but by God, we can be independent thanks to BART. When that is taken away, there's not many choices left. The commuter buses have been filling up quickly, or people have no way to get to the designated stations where the buses are waiting. News stations suggest "work from home." Man, why didn't we think of that? But here's the deal: Not all jobs can be done from home. Waitpersons are losing wages and tips, along with hourly workers. This strike is hurting the poor, and the disabled. Coming right off the government shutdown, it's horrible timing. It makes me want to join a militia where we learn how to work a BART train. Plus I had to be in the City on Saturday. I would have to leave before seven, meaning I'd have to miss Litquake events. This made me see red.
So I've been really down. I went on facebook to see if anyone posted kitten photos. I saw a post from Yvonne Prinz, the kickass author/owner of Ameoba Records, who I met six months ago at a reading. Apparently she and Alex Green (the wonderful editor of Caught in The Carousel) were going to be judging a Battle of the Bands at the Lafayette Library. At first I thought man, how are they going to do that? It will be kind of noisy. Then I saw they were doing it at five after the library closed. I knew what I had to do. I put on makeup, put on a new scarf, then walked to the Library.
After picking up my holds, I chatted with Yvonne for a while then grabbed a seat. Now keep in mind my expectations were low. I thought they were going to be like The Zit Remedy from Degrassi. Ah, the Zit Remedy! Three boys who thought they were going to hit it big! Okay, they only know one song, but why be picky? "Everybody wants somebody but they'll never give up..."
The bands I heard surpassed the Zit Remedy. Librarian Patrick Brogan introduced Alex, who was the MC. He introduced the first band called Ivy Drive, and they were amazing. They were fourteen and fifteen, but their voices sounded so grownup, so beautiful. Waffle Wednesdays did covers. Then Patrick announced winners for a raffle they were having. He called the numbers while I was looking at my ticket, but I was also checking twitter for the status of the strike. Suddenly I realized wait a minute, that's my ticket! I was so stunned that I sat there. "Come on up!" Patrick said. Feeling like a complete goof, I walked up to the stage. My prize? Twenty five dollars to Powell's Candy Store. Oh yeah! I went back to my chair, then texted Meranda and Sericea that their eldest children were going to be treated to five dollars each of Powell's candy.
Wild Guess was next. The lead singer was thirteen years old. Thirteen! She was all confidence, reminding me of a young Debbie Harry. I was blown away. She's from Pleasant Hill. Shout out to a fellow P Hill girl!!
The last band was Just Have Fun. Their voices were lovely and sweet. Their families held their phones up, taping their performance. After they were done, Alex had the judges decision. Wild Guess won! Me I would've had a four way tie, but I was so glad Wild Guess won! The lead singer Alexa Heine was very gracious, along with band members Morgan Swanson, Niels Sorensen, and Mikey Deng. Remember their names: they're wonderful.
All the bands came up for a last round of applause. When the applause ended, I checked my twitter again: BART strike continues on into tomorrow. Big sigh! But I looked at the bands onstage. They were all so young, so happy. Oddly enough they gave me hope. I wasn't sure what was going to happen next. But their happiness was contagious, making me think where there's a will, there's a way.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries