Occupy the Bistro Movement

Posted on November 25, 2011

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Shopping seems to be the answer to the Occupy protest

With “Occupy” protests and movements being all in the news, it caused me to reflect on my part of an ongoing “movement” – something I will call the “Occupy the Bistro 50Plus Movement”. It actually has been gaining momentum over a few years, with more and more senior gals joining our ranks over  coffee and/or luncheons at the local bistro/deli just down the street from where we gather to sweat and commiserate over our aging bodies. Do not confuse this with the zany Red Hat Society gals that periodically gather in town for mall scavenger hunts and the like; our Occupy the Bistro group have no special colours and wearing hats would just be too big a stretch.

It started out as a grass-roots kind of progression. A handful of gals I regularly worked out with (The Fifty Plus Gang because it’s an exercise session geared for the older, not-as-perky-as-I-was-twenty-years-ago woman) decided to incorporate a social aspect once a week to welcome newcomers to the group and discuss the past week’s highlights, etc. Rather than just a couple of members meeting for an occasional coffee after class, it actually became a novel idea to meet weekly after our late morning session – something that none of the other group classes at the gym were doing.

Word of mouth stirred within the locker room. The deli began to anticipate our growing numbers, clustering a few tables together to facilitate us in the rear area of the restaurant. The behind-the-counter staff always had big smiles for us as we ladies filed through the door, lining up for our replenishment after class. (You could say that our support for their deli business was actually stimulating the economy, just what the Occupy protestors complain about.) The only blip to our gatherings proved to be a noise issue if we got too zealous (or silly) and voices volumed, but even that was taken in stride by the staff.

On more than one occasion, we pretty much took over an area of the place with our “occupation”.  We didn’t need to pitch a tent or raise a protest banner or cover our faces with bandanas or any of that nonsense; we simply found a comfortable venue to park for a spell. Thursdays became our time to share views on everything from the state of healthcare, local politics, headline news and senior issues to ways to quiet a snoring partner, the latest garish styles and the dilemma of what to make for that night’s dinner. Yeah, there’s criticism about corporate greed, poverty and housing, but mostly it’s about sharing our experiences. We’ve discovered our strengths and limitations, witnessed injustices, raised families, seen deaths and births and been support figures for other people’s successes. We still question why chocolate isn’t on Canada’s Good Food Guide for heaven’s sake! Sharing a good belly laugh with a fellow “old hen” can be what gets you through a rough patch or an injury. We check up on each other’s absences as a sisterhood of sorts. It’s like neighbourhoods used to be growing up.

And so we continue the movement and plan for the next holiday assembly. Personally, I will be adding a jovial reindeer touch to the gathering which I know the ladies will enjoy (but it’s a secret for now). Our Fifty Plus Gang will never be as aggressive as the Wall Street counterparts, but we could certainly raise our voices and concerns given an opportunity. I’d be with ’em too. Don’t ever mess with an old hen who’s cleaned up after the ol’ rooster for decades – she’ll be a feisty bird.

A bird with attitude

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Posted in: Gimme a Sign