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Brian McGrory

Occupy Hingham? This is too easy

What’s a guy supposed to do when an invitation arrives in his inbox to a protest of Wall Street banking practices yesterday in - there’s no casual segue to this - Hingham?

No, really.

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Is he supposed to just walk past the low-hanging fruit and let it ripen until it rots? Is he supposed to pretend it’s not really happening? Is he supposed to instead write about, say, how Republicans should have an open relationship with Newt Gingrich: Support him, but vote for someone else?

Seriously, questions needed to be answered - questions like: Are the 99 percent in Hingham the wealthy, protesting the insidious 1 percent that sneaks across the Weymouth border in Civics for pizza at the Tosca Café? Will the protesters occupy Talbots? What if they take all the best spots at free Sunday yoga at the Lululemon in the Derby Street Shoppes?

Not to mention how Hingham’s finest is supposed to deal with something like this. There aren’t enough tasers and pepper spray in the world if the protesters make a move on Loring Hall, or - please, no - Brewed Awakenings.

Officer A: “My God, what are they wearing?’’

Officer B: “Hoodies.’’

Officer A: “Not from Patagonia they’re not.’’

Obviously, I’m overstating things, because the town has experience with Wall Street protests. One night a week, girls-night-out at the Scarlet Oak Tavern, a group of otherwise delightful women carp about their no-good husbands barely clinging to finance jobs that don’t pay anywhere near what they used to.

But enough of the buildup. At high noon yesterday, the protest hour, I found myself in the parking lot of the Bank of America branch in Queen Anne’s Corner, and it all started to make sense. Hingham is to protests what my native Weymouth is to, say, common sense. Hingham’s town motto: You propose it, we’ll oppose it.

Couldn’t you see it, so much to protest, so little time, out-of-towners and locals side-by-side, one big angry family. Dewey Square has nothing on this town.

Noon came and went, and so did a woman in a BMW Z4. A guy in a pickup emerged from the bank with a lollipop. I burst inside and asked the manager if I missed the fireworks.

“What?’’ she asked.

“The moveon.org protest,’’ I said.

A teller said, “They must have moved on.’’ Sure enough, the organization confirmed it had combined the event with a march in Quincy instead. Mark this as the first time in history that a protest was canceled in Hingham.

Dejected, I took a ride along Main Street, which turned into a trip down Memory Lane. Look, that’s the traffic light that followed what the Hingham Journal described as “decades of debate,’’ the one that officials said was identical to those in Wellesley. Aw, there’s the Habitat for Humanity house that the locals claimed would cause a traffic plague in town (one house, on a main road). There’s the armory where town officials sawed down a National Guard recruiting sign during the Iraq war because they said it was too big.

And of course, there’s the $50 million rail tunnel in Hingham Square, a monument to local protests.

Feeling better, I picked up the paper and saw that residents are up in arms over the possibility the MBTA may stop subsidies on the commuter boat service. According to the story, a selectwoman “said it’s important for citizens to approach the issue in a constructive, solution-oriented manner.’’

In other words, that’s exactly what’s not going to happen. Stay tuned, we’ll get another protest yet.

McGrory is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at mcgrory@globe.com.
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