While a quick resolution to the crisis over university tuition fees appears unlikely, many students have already packed their books and placards for the semester and have moved back with Mom and Dad for the summer. But how will these young protestors manage the transition? Below is an excerpt from the diary of an erstwhile protestor.
I am writing this from my old bedroom, replete with its consumerist, bourgeois trappings of childhood. I scoff at the naiveté of my former self as I eat my mom’s chicken paprika, alone in body but joined in spirit by my brothers and sisters who fight for justice and social equity. I am also joined by my little brother breathing heavily outside my door, which is totally annoying!
Confrontation was the order of the day as my parents arrived to move me out of my apartment. Brainwashed as they are by the government and media to believe they have authority over me as a person, they demanded to know why I had not yet packed my meager possessions. I informed them that I was determined to occupy the apartment beyond the terms of my lease to demonstrate that housing should be free to all.
“I remind you that ‘the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general’: – Frederick Engels,” I said.
“I remind you that I pay your rent: your dad,” said my father. And then he rather abruptly knocked over the barricade I had fashioned out of ironic T-shirts, Ugly Dolls and my roommate’s discarded futon. Fascist!
Today I chained myself to the kitchen table, under which I established a compound with my comrade Janeene. We pledged to remain there until my mother agreed to take a stand for social justice by purchasing only organic, fair trade, locally grown salad greens. We spent the afternoon shouting out, “It’s our future! It’s arugula!” and singing the salad-arity song, “Endive Telling You I’m Not Going.”
At suppertime, my mother asked me to come to the table.
I replied: “I am willing to come to the table if I can be assured that negotiations at the table will be conducted in good faith. However, this means that all parties must be welcome at the table and be given an equal voice and portion. If any single party is excluded, then we will not come to the table.”
“Poosh!” my mother replied. “Tell Janeene that if she doesn’t like my Caesar salad she can eat at her own house next door.”
“God, Mom, you’re so rude!” I protested as Janeene ran home crying, dropping her “Fall of the Romaine Empire” protest sign en route.
Mom then lifted the table so that the chain with which I had bound myself slid down the table leg, freeing me against my will. “There. Was that so chard?” my mother said and then laughed and laughed like she thought she was so-o-o-o funny.
Talks have broken down between myself and the establishment. I am now on strike, refusing to attend household functions until they put a freeze on their consumption of fossil fuels, particularly their greenhouse-gas-emitting Hyundai Accord. As such, I have established a picket line at the end of the driveway where I have been camped out for three days.
I am joined by a member of PASSE – Passive-Aggressive Students Suffering from Ennui. His name is Carl and does not speak much, although he occasionally pepper sprays himself and mutters, “Save them the trouble…” I find his presence more unsettling than helpful.
This afternoon, the family emerged from their besieged residence and headed toward the car. I intercepted them. Carl was again with the pepper spray.
“You’re putting the ‘die’ in ‘Hyundai!’” I shouted behind my Homer Simpson mask (I couldn’t find a V for Vendetta mask).
“We know it’s you, dear,” said my mother. “We’re heading to see The Avengers. Your brother’s invited his friends, so there’s no room for you, I’m afraid. You’re welcome to join us but you’ll have to walk. Bye now.”
They drove off, leaving me with Carl writhing on the grass. I have been true to my principles and will continue to do so. But as I watched my family drive off, I could not help but recall the words of the Dalai Lama: “This sucks.”