And then I get this role and I end up in East Africa. I go out to the forest in Uganda. There's this woman. She brings me deep into the forest, to this cave made from the roots of a tree – the entrance is made from the roots of a tree. You go inside and there's a well in the ground, a little well. This is where they say the first man lived. And I'm sitting there. I've got my shoes off and I'm thinking to myself, Touch the ground, man. Touch the wall, feel your feet, smell it, don't forget it. Let it be inside of you.................... Forest Whitaker, Esquire interview
— a spot I am thinking of naming my first-born after. I was doing the NYT crossword with super-nice barista Makenna, who introduced me to her super-nice boyfriend Dave, who got all psyched on my travels and began brainstorming some ideas for me. I might have made more of a big deal out of my travel-blogging than it warranted. Then in strolls Keith, and I quickly learn about the Orlando FNB situation.
From the wording of the law, it seems impossible and opposed to FNB’s central tenets for them not to break the 2-times per year restriction on public food-sharing. So there’s some kind of stalemate. Keith himself had recently been released from jail at the time of this interview.
5.57 — The origin of FNB, being the logical outgrowth of a produce-selling art student’s coming of age in Reagan-era Boston
11.30 — The social consciousness of the Russians
12.46 — K: “And the U.S. Justice Department declared us a terrorist group…”
13.38 — (there’s some guy laughing out of the frame)
15.12 — K: “In fact West Philly FNB, the 3 core members of West Philly FNB, were framed in a terrorism plot in California, after the 2005 FNB gathering”
16.55 — The respect of public space
20.45 — K: “And that’s a check?”
»> Wherein Keith gets his mail
… Later on that day, Dave Bradburn and I are busking on the streets of Orlando, him with his guitar and me with a sign that says, “NEVER BEEN TO DISNEYWORLD.” A dude stops on his bike and warns us that we need a permit for this kind of action, and the cops are serious about it. He’s the bucket drummer we’d walked past the night before, Wawa. He’s actually pretty good. Dave asks if we could join him at his correctly-zoned spot, and he says okay.
(We’d been standing on a well-traveled corner, directly across from a few shouting Black Israelites, taking advantage of a more overt racial antipathy than we have up north. We did get some dollars out of it, and also lots of people complaining to us that the Black Israelites are “the real racists.” When we were with Wawa, those same people were walking on the other side of the street.)
I told Wawa about meeting the FNB founder, and he provided some interesting counterpoint:
0.00 — Wawa talks about Orlando as a “showcase city”
2.43 — W: “What they’re doing is what we call down south, ‘bucking the system’ “
3.42 — E: “What repercussions does this have for the local community and people trying to organize around here?”
4.28 — The camera dies, unfortunate because Wawa is just getting into his point. He feels that FNB is making Orlando a focal point only long enough to win a PR victory, and then forget about the city as things go back to being worse than they were before.
It’s hard to see who’s got the better vantage, even knowing a bit more about this than I did then. But I guess it’s always that way, until one result bears out to be more effective.