Thursday, December 6, 2007

So... Some Good News and Some Bad News.

I like coffee.

When I am stuck in Olympia, I enjoy going out with friends and drinking a lot of coffee. My sanctuary in this small town is a late night dinner called King Solomon's Reef. The Reef serves up a $1.25 cup of Olympia Roasting Company coffee. This is good stuff. Their are countless reasons why the Reef has taken so much of my heart, but good coffee definitely helps.

One thing I can really appreciate about small town culture is the concept of "the Regular," where all the waiters and waitress know their name and their order. The Regular goes to this place so often that their pressence is almost expected, and always appreciated. In a world where so much of our interactions with strangers in the public sphere are robotic and uncomfortable, I greatly admire a businesses that treats me like a human. I am constantly striving to become a "regular" at an all night dinner.

I have put in alot of hours at the Reef. I would consider myself a loyal customer and give them alot of business. I also recognize that the majority of the Reef's patrons are college students who probably consider themselves Regulars. A few months ago I was at the Reef. I was sitting around with several friends, we had just arrived. When Lyle a waiter at the Reef was taking orders, he turned to me and said "You want a cup of coffee, no cream." This may seem like an insignicant detail, but the fact that he knew I wanted coffee without cream was one of my happier moments. This should in no way reflect on my general happiness, I am a very happy person. His statement reinforced that my presence at the Reef is noticed, the first step to becoming a Regular.

Tonight I was once again enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee and conversing with friends about the good ole times. I ordered a pacman(off menu item), which is an english muffin with an egg and cheese (option of ham or bacon, but I don't eat meat). After spending many hours fueling my caffiene addiction we all lined up at the register to pay. After my transaction was finished, I informed my friends (quit loudly) that I needed to use the restroom. The waitress that worked our table all night offered for me to use the "Clean Bathroom." She pointed into a vacant room and told me to go all the way back. To the best of my knowledge this bathroom isn't neccesarily open to the public, or atleast it isn't advertised as a public restroom. It was a wonderful and joyous pee. I am sure the offer was made to me with very little consideration for how it would make me feel, but it made me feel so appreciated. I felt honored as a patron of the Reef and it filled me with hope that one day I will be a Regular.

I can imagine it now. I walk in and sit up to the bar. I don't need to neccesarily show up with friends, because I will have plenty of people their who I know and am friendly with.
"Hey Tasha(or some nickname the staff was bestowed upon me), what will it be tonight?"
Barely looking up from my newspaper, I will casually respond, "Oh the usual." The waitress will playfully shake her head and make a friendly comment about how predicitable I am. I will lightheartedly rebuttle with a comment referring to an inside joke we share. I would then light my cigarette (obviously I would pick up smoking) and drink my coffee, being completely content with my calculable life.

Why is this my bliss?

On the drive home from the Reef tonight I was talking with Charlie about my invitation to use the "Clean Bathroom." In my excitement I told him I wanted to blog my feelings. He said I should start a blog.

So here I am, starting a blog.

And now the bad news.

After having a wonderful evening at the Reef, reconnecting with friends from the 4th floor, I was hanging out in Charlie's room talking with him, Jai, Heather and Riley. We were discussing the world and how everything is so horrible and how we feel so small and helpless compared to it all. The conversation was interupted by screams. Someone was yelling, "Get off me." Everyone in the room looked at each other and instantly ran out onto the balcony of the 5th floor of A building. We see two police officers pinning a resident on the ground. I am attempting to discern the situation when I hear a voice yell, "Let go of him, I am an RA" (or something to that extent). I recognized the voice as my fellow RA, Nick. I didn't see the situation go down, but if he was upset, then something must have been wrong. Moments later I see him and Colin fly down the stairs, heading for the conflict. Feeling an obligation to assist the situation, I also go down stairs to see what is going on. As I get a closer look I notice that the resident who is being pinned down lives in my area.

Many students had gathered around to watch the incident, many were very upset by what they had seen. Some began chanting and yelling at the cops and others began smoking outside designated smoking areas in defiance, which seemed to be the root cause of this entire conflict. Once I had realized that the resident who was being pinned on the pavement was one of ym residents I immediately sought after my boss, the on duty RD. I asked her what had happened. I then asked both the on duty RAs. I then began asking people who claimed to have witnessed the conflict. Every person had a drastically different depiction of the events that had unfolded. This made it very hard for me to believe anyone person. All I know for a fact is that two police officers were very violent with one of my residents.

I could attempt to repeat all the different testimonys I heard, but I have no interest in perpetuating rumors. I didn't see what happened, so I cannot begin to guess what actually went down. Some students told me they got video, which I would be very interested in seeing. Despite what actually happened, many students are pissed off. This is just generally stressful. This part of my job is conflicting with my views. It is hard for me to rationalize that sort of police force when I don't really agree with the intitution of police or using force in any situation. I find contradiction in being an RA and still maintaining my liberal views on authority (if you can call them liberal). I recognized that despite how I felt about the situation I needed to be doing what I viewed as right. I attempted to create peace amongst the students who were very upset and wanting to do something in response to their friend being arrested. I gave some especially upset students the number to the chief of police at Evergreen, encouraging them to articulate their complants and then address the police officers boss. I explained that this was the best path to see results from their complants.

It is hard to be an RA. I don't like it most of the time. I was pulled aside by a co-worker, he asked me information about my resident that was getting arrested. What is his name? What state is he from? I pretended that I didn't know any of this information. I didn't feel like it was my job to assist the cops in arresting someone, espcially because I don't think they have just cause to do so. I really felt like I was put in an awkard position, I generally care about my residents and want to protect them, but at the same time I also care about my fellow RAs.

I want to stress the importance of not falling into the temptation to combat violence with violence. It is completely nonsensical. I don't like violence, so I will attempt to active make peace.

The revolution is hard.

I good really use some coffee.


1 comment:

Amanda said...

These are all reasons you should quit this RA BS and be my roommate next year.

But seriously, I think in general people at Evergreen are more paranoid about cops than need be. At the same time, I agree that you didn't really have an obligation to give them information about this kid over what was probably nothing.