After two weeks of picketing with my fellow writers, it was time to take care of some errands I'd been neglecting. The car wash was packed, so, armed with the newspaper and my cell phone, I headed to the outdoor waiting area. But a funny thing happened there -- I couldn't sit down. Not because there wasn't room, but because I truly couldn't sit. I had to walk.
Now, if you knew me, you'd understand why this is worthy of note. I have a hate/hate relationship with exercise. In fact, before the strike I was no longer on speaking terms with exercise. And now, here I was voluntarily walking the sidewalks of the neighborhood around the car wash -- down the street, across the street, and up the other side -- just like at Fox, except I carried a purse instead of a picket sign.
This inexplicable desire to walk when not compelled to do so by the WGA baffled me at first, but then I realized that it takes about three weeks for a new habit to be hardwired into your brain, and I was already two-thirds of the way there. Which raised the question: What am I going to do this week while visiting my parents for Thanksgiving?
The good news is that my parents live just outside of Washington, D.C. -- somebody's always protesting something there. Problem solved: I'll just join them. Solidarity! Union Power! End the War! Give me a sign, and I'll picket. No after-Thanksgiving sales for me. (I can't spend any money anyway, I'm on strike.) So I do a Google search for options:
*First hit: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters has been picketing outside the D.C. offices of a local construction firm that is paying below prevailing wages to workers renovating a bank. Here we go, a union fight I can relate to. Unfortunately, it turns out the union has hired homeless people to do their picketing for them at $8 an hour, while the carpenters continue working for $24 an hour. Somebody's really ripping these homeless people off, I'm sure they'd get at least $12 an hour in L.A.! Seriously though, it's abhorrent and reprehensible that a union protesting low wages is outsourcing picketing jobs to the poor and disenfranchised, so I nix that option. Solidarity should not be for sale. Or for rent.
*Next, I read that hundreds of people, mostly from Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland are picketing weekly outside the D.C. home of Black Entertainment Television's president Debra Lee, protesting the derogatory images of, and negative messages about, black people on the cable network. Picketers have been carrying signs that read: "I am not a thug," "I am not a pimp," and "I am not a bitch." Even though I am not black, this is an issue I support, but I have to admit that sometimes, very rarely, but sometimes, I can be a little bitchy, so I'd have to re-write that sign, which we know I'm not allowed to do.
*Finally, there's the obvious fallback location: The White House. Maybe I'll just show up in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue holding high a sign that reads: "A writer wrote all those scathing jokes about you." Do you think Bush can force majeure my citizenship?
Reluctantly, I've come to accept that this week's action will be limited to walks around my parents' neighborhood in a tryptophan stupor. But I'll keep walking. Not only because it's healthy, but because I have to. From Plymouth Rock to 30 Rock, you gotta fight for what's right.
I'm glad the media conglomerates have finally decided to return to the table after the holiday. Welcome back. No need for greed. There is a cornucopia of abundance; plenty for everyone. Let's talk turkey.
Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.