Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

Lessons learned at a vigil

Downtown San Francisco is nearly deserted at 7:30 pm on a Sunday, near the Civic Center. It's actually rather fucking spooky.
I got off on the wrong escalator; I could have come out right at the right place if only I'd known which street exit to take from the BART station.
It's good to have a visual means of recognizing the members of a protest if you're all strangers. I followed the green armbands to the actual location.
If you're throwing a candlelight vigil, candles are good. (I brought all the tea lights I had on me, because I didn't know if they'd be needed. Other people had plenty of tapers that they were passing around, but I made good use of the tea lights.)
One of the useful purposes of flyers at an event includes making information known to everyone even if everybody does not speak the same language.
(I found myself a quiet place on the side and began lighting and setting out tealights.)
Lighters are also good, and it was good that I brought three of them, because they were all used.
Grill lighters may be better when wrangling a bank of tealights.
If you have a bunch of lit candles, people will come up to you to light theirs.
People will also come up to you and leave more candles.
Bring cups to shield candles from the wind. (People had to get re-lit, and there was an extreme shortage of cups.)
The wind will blow the candles out. You will re-light them. It's easier to re-light them with a taper than with a cigarette lighter.
"I can't talk right now; I have two flaming things in my hand" is a valid reason to not take a call.
If your tea lights come in a plastic sack, be aware of that sack's location at all times, and immediately put it away somewhere safe when it is empty.
If you turn your back on the plastic sack for five seconds to light someone's candle, it will blow into the bank of lighted tea lights and catch on fire, and, when you smash it out with your hands, a bit of hot plastic will stick to your finger.
Some mild burns actually don't hurt, especially if you tell them not to, even though they will leave a fun blister.
It's hard to pay attention to speeches when paying attention to a whole bunch of candles and helping people light theirs.
The people with the glass candle cups don't have to worry about the cup catching on fire or melting.
It's easier to wrangle candles when you have a little help.
A bunch of lit candles is a mediagenic sight, and people will take pictures and video. (Related: if you see someone who looks like me next to a bunch of candles in San Francisco news, it might actually be me.)
Not everybody who shows up to a protest wants to give their name to a reporter.
A bank of candles is the warmest place to be, when you're still in the wind.
You can squash a taper into the molten wax of a tea light to make an impromptu holder for the taper.
If you will be wrangling candles, especially in the wind, wear an expendable outfit. I will have to play rescue-from-the-wax with one of the very nice plain black handwash skirts.
I mentioned that plastic cups melt, right?
There are a bunch of homeless people around the Civic Center area. Some of them are more inclined to run around the edges of a bunch of protesters bellowing irrelevant things at the top of their lungs than others.
If you get appointed custodian of the candles by dint of sitting there with them, you may wind up in possession of a lot more candles than you came with, particularly if the vigil was not long enough for the candles to have burned out.
If you're setting up a bank of candles somewhere, bring a scraper to lift the wax drippings.
You should make sure your water bottle is shut before you put it in your bag.
Some of the tea lights may be OK to use again. Some of them may be totalled. Triage them after they're out.
Do not stick your finger in a tealight that is out but has not yet solidified. (Especially try to avoid doing it more than once.)
Do not stick a tealight that is out but not solidified in your bag.
Bring paper and pen and have the name of places that are organizing protests written down or memorized for the people who show up way fucking late (for next time).
Do leave the area promptly after the event is over, because the weirdoes come out.
Bring a bigger bag for the candles next time.

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