America is known for its non-violent protests. From Martin Luther King's Sit Ins all the way to our most current Occupy Wall Street, our non-violent protests serve as an effective way to prove a point without harming anyone. We are allotted the privilege of free speech, and it is used accordingly.
One local man, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims to have started the next non-violent protest. For the purpose of this article, we will call him Gary.
Every morning at 6:55 am, Gary walks from his apartment over to Sheridan and Surf, the bus stop where one can catch a multitude of routes. When the bus arrives, Gary steps on, reaches into his pocket as if to pull out his bus pass but instead removes his hand showing his thumb pointing down. Then he steps off the bus maintaining eye contact with the driver the entire time.
During a lull in bus traffic, I take the opportunity to find out more about Gary's cause.
"Occupy Bus is something I've been thinking up over the past five years. First I thought I could step on and give a piece of my mind, then I came up with the idea to wear a chicken suit and gobble, I ultimately ended up with the thumbs down approach as I began studying minimalism in all its forms. In the same vein, I sold my bed and couch and bought a futon."
I asked Gary what provoked his anger towards the Chicago Transit Authority and his hands raised into the air as his head spun in circles. I believe he was recalling the past.
"It was 2005. I was young, foolish, full of bravado. I was on my way to my new job at the Deloit building on Wacker. I step onto the bus. I take a seat. Many seats are available. The next stop, a man steps onto the bus. With all the open seats, he decides to sit right next to me. I didn't understand."
I ask if that was all.
"The next day it happened again. I was trapped. On a bus with many available seats, why next to me? I thought there should be rules in place. I marched up the the bus driver but the floor was wet. I slipped. I fell. I came to at a hospital on Wellington. They told me I overstepped my bus riding privileges, that I traveled at a bad time. My insurance did not cover the accident. I took a bus home."
"Did somebody sit next to you again?"
"You sick son of a bitch"
I quickly apologized, unsure of what I did.
Gary continued, "Nobody would listen to my story. To this day I believe the bus driver saw me coming to give a piece of my mind, slammed the brakes to throw me and my opinions to the floor. I was silenced; I was put in my place."
A bus was arriving and Gary had to prepare. I thanked him for his time and walked away, slightly confused.