Wow. I came home late last night from the Occupy Dallas camp at Pioneer Plaza downtown and couldn't get to sleep for the longest. Something about what I had seen down there was tearing me up, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
While I was there last night, I watched as an Occupy Dallas person voluntarily went to the small group of police parked by the curb to report that there had been an unfortunate shoving incident in the leadership tent. It had been resolved, though, and everyone was sorry it had happened. The cops had that "too much information" look.
Also last night, a lawyer addressed the group. He told them that Occupy Dallas was the only Occupy in the country so far where there had been no arrests. They were to be commended, the lawyer said.
Later, I asked an Occupier what he thought about the Millionaires March in New York, where the occupiers were going to take their protest to the homes where the city's richest people live. He said he didn't think the occupiers in Dallas would want to do something quite that confrontational, and he pointed out that the Park Cities, where the richest people live, is pretty far away from Pioneer Plaza.
Then I went home and tried to get some sleep. But I lay in bed for hours, tossing and turning. Finally, when sleep did overcome me, I plunged immediately down into a series of bizarre nightmares.
In the first dream, it is December 17, 1773, and a ship of the East India Tea Company has recently arrived in Dallas Harbor. Residents enraged over the recent Wall Street-inspired Tea Act are gathered at Pioneer Park, where they are debating what to do. They called themselves Occupy Dallas.
Radicals in the group recommend that Occupy Dallas do the same thing done the day before by Occupy Boston, whose members, disguised as Mohawk Indians, had boarded a tea ship there, the Dartmouth, and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor.
"But this is Dallas," a voice cries out. "Instead of a violent and destructive 'Tea Party' where we ruin perfectly good tea by dumping it into the harbor, why not have an actual tea party, something really nice where we make tea and have little cakes and those cool little miniature sandwiches on silver trays like in English movies?"
The mob roars: "CAKES AND COOL LITTLE MINIATURE SANDWICHES ON SILVER TRAYS LIKE IN ENGLISH MOVIES! CAKES AND COOL LITTLE MINIATURE SANDWICHES ON SILVER TRAYS LIKE IN ENGLISH MOVIES!"
What's this? An imposing figure in a white powdered wig emerges from nearby City Hall. It's Lord Mary, the City Manager! She says, "I can go with the tea and the cakes, but we are not going to allow any cool little miniature sandwiches like in English movies."
"TEA AND CAKES, OK!" the crowd roars. "TEA AND CAKES, OK!"
The dream dissolves. Oh, no, it's my other nightmare, the awful recurring one where I'm back in college and I wake up really hung over and my roommate says, 'What about your history final?" I haven't studied at all! Running, running, running, grabbing a seat in the class. They hand out the test. It's all essay! One question!
Oh, man! I know this one. The question: "How come everybody remembers the Boston Tea Party but nobody remembers the one in Dallas?"
Once again, not studying at all pays off handsomely.