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  • We'd been dancing and clapping along with the drummers for quite a while when the rains came. Reluctantly, drummers put the drums away as it continued to fall and fall. Some went over to the building where Burger King sits, just across the road, to seek shelter under the construction-company scaffolding. At Burger King, you pretty much have to sign over your first-born for the privilege of using the rest room, and I had to slowly explain why I wished to use the bathroom before making my purchase, rather than bringing my tea into the bathroom with me. Funny little rules. McDonald's, on the other hand, has been welcoming and generous with their rest rooms, and considering the crowds in there getting food and drink, I'd say their attention to more important aspects of customer service are paying off well during this Occupation.

    Tea in hand, I quickly tired of standing under the scaffolding, and returned to the park. For the next few hours, gaggles of happy people huddled under umbrellas and makeshift rain covers and enjoyed the impromptu coziness the rain had given us. Under my chosen shelter, we had three large umbrellas held up by three large men, and a clear plastic tarp draped over that to nearly the ground. Inside, we sang song after song, including "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." At one point police walked through, asked us if we had any poles in there, erecting our apparently good-looking structure (there's a no-poles policy in the park to keep people from setting up semi-permanent structures. That funny little rule was in place long before this park was Occupied). We responded no, and asked if they had any for us. The officers laughed and carried on with a-funny-rule-enforcement-walk-about.

    As the hours wore on and the rains kept falling, thoughts began drifting to those of sleep. An idea was born to retreat to the subway platform, where we heard others were seeking shelter. When our troupe arrived, we enjoined a group of about twenty, making us about twenty-five. Some were sitting on steps, some were unrolling sleeping mats on the platform. In time, a uniformed guy happened upon us in his rounds of emptying the ticket machines. Taken by surprise, he spent a New York minute assessing our encampment. Chuckling, he walked away. A little while later, he returned with the other guys to empty the machine. They greeted us, and said, "We support what you guys are doing, and we're fine with you being in here, but please just keep your beds off to the sides so people can get through here to the ticket machine." We happily obliged.

    Hours passed, and we slept well. In the early morning, our friends returned. They said something like, "There's a change of shift in fifteen minutes, and we don't know if the supervisor on the next shift will be as sympathetic as we are." Heeding this, and not wanting them to get in trouble for their humanity, we packed up our (wet) belongings and returned to the park.

    Now wet from the knees down and cold to my bones, I was quickly greeted by someone with a large bag in his hands. "Give me your wet clothes. I'll take them and dry them and bring them back to you. You can get dry clothes at Comfort." Still dazed, I gave him my layer of wet clothes, and shivered my way over to Comfort. Before I could utter a word, the sweet girl there was saying, "I have just the coat for you! It's even your color!" As she unearthed a brown wool coat in my size. Like a loving mother of her little wet child, Rachel dressed me in thick, warm socks and leggings (for under my skirt), the wool coat, and a scarf and mittens. Better already.

    Back on Zucotti, I met others who spent the night in McDonald's. Apparently they had a big ol' sing-along in there until the wee hours. At times it got a bit loud and rowdy from the singing and merry-making, and the manager would gently ask people to simmer down a bit. And there they passed the night, up until the wee hours when delivery truck arrived and they had to officially close to allow for the shipment to be unloaded.

    Love it when people come together to care about other people first. Thanks, guys.
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