Scenes of Somerville: October 8

Welcome to my new column! These pieces will be quick sketches of the wacky and wonderful place that I now call home.

October 8: Honk Festival of Activist Bands

On the way to Davis, I stumble across a children’s lemonade stand. They are donating the profits to the PTO of their local elementary school. As I buy my drink, they offer to identify my spirit animal for an additional ten cents. A mother with blond curly hair stands in the background, strumming a ukelele and singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

It is all I can do not to put on my best teacher voice and say, “Children, do you know what cultural appropriation is?”

My spirit animal, according to them, is a dolphin. And a lemonade-drinker.

***

I listen to activist marching bands in Davis Square with a group of friends. As the band passes though the plaza, they play the theme to “Star Wars,” and each member has a sign that says “Black Lives Matter” tacked onto their costume. I make friends with a baby two feet away from me, who keeps nodding his head and knitting his eyebrows pensively as he stares at me.

***

I meet a dog waiting outside Starbucks. His owner is wearing a “Stranger Things” t-shirt and is clutching a latte and a two-pack of cough syrup. I tell him (the man, not the dog) that I have not finished the series yet. “Yeah, the ending is awful,” he jokes. “Everyone dies.”

***

On my way home, I pass a protest for fair wages for janitors at Tufts. They hold a large cut-out of a head swathed in red, green, and black yards of fabric, and block the rotary near my house. Once I learn what they’re protesting, I have to take back my initial assessment, which was, “Why are all these white folks saying ‘Si Se Puede?'”

***

The lemonade stand is still there. The children are still identifying spirit animals. The parents are now singing “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

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