I have resumed cross-border travel in the era of COVID. This evening I walked over to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). I’ll save most of my mundane thoughts and observations about CHAZ for another time. Until then, for those people who are up in arms and panicked, chill out, grab a beer, and rest easy. Better yet, if you have the chance, roll on through. You don’t need a visa.
You’ll see a group of concerned citizens at 12th and Pine discussing George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, 2020 America, and what they just experienced in their confrontation with an excessively militarized police force backed up by the National Guard. A confrontation that Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best are ultimately responsible for.
I don’t know what the future holds for CHAZ. I don’t think anyone does. But I’m grateful for the people who brought it about. Excessive militarization of the police forces is not good for the police and it’s not good for the community. We all know the saying. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Let’s assemble a better toolbox.
Omega 3s. I worked up a considerable hunger after my grueling 3 block border crossing. You would, too, if you low crawled through Cal Anderson Park, wire cutters clenched between your teeth. Luckily, when I got to the fence, a couple of skaters said, “Dude, you can just walk in.”
After successfully passing the daunting, imposing You are now entering free Cap Hill sign, I sought to soothe my nerves. I went to Frankie and Jos and got a scoop of Harvey Strawberry Milk. When you’re in an Autonomous Zone, a veritable den of intrigue, a scoop of plant based ice cream (or is it gelato?) helps you blend in, go unnoticed. I resumed my walk, discreetly stuffing my face. It was Union Street, but with all of the people out walking dogs and handing out food and water, it could have just as easily been Tangier. Bring it on Checkpoint CHAZlie – I have ice cream.
I should have gotten two scoops. The leisurely walk back on a beautiful spring day had my adrenaline racing. I glanced back. The militant CHAZers with their cups of coffee and adorable corgis weren’t following me. Still, I was on edge, and needed more food.
I got the sequence wrong. Maybe sometimes I shouldn’t start with an onion.
I wish I had that second scoop of Harvey Strawberry Milk. Maybe I’ll brave the CHAZ again tomorrow. Once more into the breach dear friends. Damn the corgis.