In the back room at Seeds, the vegan restaurant in Place Marie, a citizens' climate change group was meeting. Jerry Lee Miller sat at the head of the table.
About 10 people attended; every seat in the room was occupied.
As a survivor of domestic violence I avoid tight places. I sat out in the cafe and read, waiting to discuss some music business with Jerry.
Several speakers thumped music with a heavy bass. I found one under a table in my alcove and unplugged it to get some relief.
Able to focus again on my book, I returned to reading the SEAC (Student Environmental Action Coalition) Organizing Guide. Waves from a nearby conversation lapped around me. A young man with a red baseball cap was speaking to a couple other young men and two young women.
An hour passed while I read. Stopped a moment, and marveled to hear he was still going on. His companions sat in rapt attention. What was the attraction? Why weren't they in the back room with the climate action folks, or the climate action folks out here in the cafe?
Another hour passed until Jerry emerged. I asked him why his group didn't meet in the cafe where there was more room for more folks to participate. He laughed and said if I were as old as him I'd understand. The cafe's echoey acoustics make it hard to hear, he said. Well, they could turn down the music for a start, I said. And red cap seemed to make himself heard all right. I wanted to hear what the young people had to say, and they needed to hear what the old people in the back room were saying. The more room you give people to participate, the more people can take part, I said.
Jerry just kind of shrugged. Red cap was one of the owners, he said.
Red hat and another young man remained attentive and polite. He said they could've pulled some tables together in the cafe, or placed more chairs in the back room. He said he was thinking about hosting a panel discussion so people could briefly speak about what activities they were developing. Sounded like a great idea, I said. I thanked them for letting me barge in -- the young woman did not look up from her widget -- and left.