I was hanging with a friend the other night who did not, as I did, spent her formative years climbing into 4:00 am buses, cars, trains, and on a few memorable occasions in rented U-Haul trucks with hay in the truck bed for shock absorption (yes, it was illegal), going to DC for this, that, and the other demonstration. She is, however, going to the Women’s March on the 21st. We talked about what to take/wear, and what not to take/wear, and she asked if I’d be willing to share these ideas on this blog. Well, you betcha! Feel free to share if this is helpful and to add ideas in the comment section if you want.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet all day.
- Wear thick socks. See above.
- Dress in layers. The forecast right now is calling for 50’s and cloudy, so that’s good, but be prepared if it goes lower, because standing around for 6-8 hours in 40-ish degree weather can put a chill in your bones.
- Bring a hat, and gloves, even if you think you won’t need them.
- Do not, however, bring a backpack. Or a big purse. Nothing that you can be grabbed by, and, alas, nothing that can be pickpocketed. You see this March as a way to express your lefty opinion. The opposition sees it as a way to protest your expressing that opinion. And crooks see a crowd as a golden opportunity. That backpack on your back is too big a target for both those guys.
- If you need something to carry stuff in, a diagonally-slung fanny pack is your best bet. Into it, or into your pockets, you want to put:
- Your ID — driver’s license, that sort of thing.
- About $100 in cash.
- One credit card.
- Your insurance ID (I know, but shit happens).
- Whatever medication you can’t live without, a 24-hour supply in a prescription bottle.
- Your DC Metro card, which I hear you can buy in advance on the DC Metro site. Whenever you buy it, make sure to load it with enough money to get you back to your hotel or meeting point after the March. Otherwise you’ll be standing in a very long line.
- Your cell phone, and a spare battery charger for same.
- Lip balm.
- Whatever you use for energy snacks. I’m partial to Lara Bars, myself. There won’t be much opportunity to buy food along the route or at the Mall, or wherever we end up.
- In another pocket, put a piece of paper with your name and emergency contact number(s). If either you or your cell phone keel over, and/or your fanny pack goes missing, this will be useful. Also, if you get arrested (see below) they’ll take your cell phone.
- Water? Opinions differ, but I’m against it. It’s just another thing to carry, you’re not likely to dehydrate to the point of danger in 6-8 hours on a cloudy day, AND:
- There will be very, very limited opportunities to pee. Do not head to the March straight from your Vente Latte. A word to the wise.
Now: in case of trouble?
- Keep an eye out for people in green baseball caps that say either “Legal Observer” or “LO.” They’re there to keep an eye on law enforcement. If you get arrested, try to get your name to one of them. They’ll track you through the system so you don’t get lost.
- Do not resist arrest. If the cops haven’t specifically noticed you when they’re doing a sweep kind of thing and you can run away, by all means be my guest. But once a cop has decided to arrest you, resisting either physically or verbally is like arguing with an NBA official. It never changes their minds and can get you in worse trouble.
- Be polite to the cops. Call them “sir” and “ma’am.” Do what they tell you. You’re out there because you’ve chosen to exercise your First Amendment rights. They’re out there because the brass told them to be, and the day before we get there, these same cops will have worked the inauguration. They’re not the enemy.
See you in Washington!