Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Boot to the Head

CDs in Play: Tom Waits, Bone Machine. Wilco, A Ghost is Born.

Fear and Loathing in South Burnaby, Chapter 2

I need to write a manual for people on how not to attract the attention or suspicions of security personel. People who aren't actually doing anything wrong can find themselves being watched just because they start acting skitish when we arrive. Or then there are the people who get defensive when an innocuous comment is made:

Me: Beautiful car.
Nervous Nelly: What? I'm not doing anything... Is my car parked illegally?"
Me: No...
NN: So why are approaching me?
Me: To tell you that you have a beautiful car, she's in fine condition.
NN: Oh...?
Me: Is there a reason you are so defensive?.
NN: No!
Me: Okay, well just accept the compliment and have a good day.

In guy in that incident looked a little like Rick Green back in the 1980's from his Frantics/Four on the Floor days. That kind of interaction is not uncommon. Other people, whom I have seen from a distance, just stop doing whatever it is they are doing when I walk by. They weren't doing anything that I could see (or smell) but they just get nervous.
No doubt some guards are supreme assholes, but then so are many clerks and cashiers who don't get treated in quite the same way. I had some kids skating in one of the loading bays during regular shipping hours. I went to ask them to quit. They were really dissappointed that I hadn't come barrelling out at them in full fascist fury - they had a camera and were making there own skate tapes. They shut the camera off and said they were hoping for an asshole guard who they could use for video. We talked for a bit and everything was cool... which actually makes me think that teaching High School Art/History is a good idea for me.
Even the panhandlers and undesirables I try to be descent to. There is one place in Burnaby where the guards kick the crap out of them for just being onsite, so they expect it from the rest of us. Some peple get it and they keep off or don't hassle people and we get on fine. I am happy to report that one junkie I have talked to several times has been cleaning up. He also seems to have taken my advice about getting out of the Greater Vancouver area and gone to stay with an uncle up in northern Alberta, who is going to get him a job. The odds are stacked against him, but I really want him to make it. Another one I know has been talking about doing something similar.
Admittedly, however, there are people who I have taken a liking to busting. One is a junkie prostitute, who constantly comes on site despite being repeatedly tossed. She is a serious nuissance. There is no person there anymore, just a drug in skin and limbs. Her personality has been completely consumed by heroin and is erratic, nonsensical and singularly focused. Some of the dumpster-divers and older panhandlers have told me that she scares the hell out of them. I tossed her off on Saturday and she was back on Monday. She had arranged to either meet her trick or her dealer onsite and was begging me to let her stay on site.
I kicked her off and waited quite conspicuously near-by to keep an eye on her. Her ride arrived and she waved to him, he waved back. He then saw me and put his hand to his face, pulled out of the turning lane and sped away. A few minutes later he came back, still holding his hand to his face and avoiding her like the plauge as she ran after him trying to flag him down. Foiling her caused me to feel a certain sense of satisfaction at that moment.
The other is a male, early 20's meth-head panhandler. We catch him, he cries. He says if we beat him up, he'll stop coming around. No one on site is going to beat him up, we just arrest him and he gets to spend a few nights in jail for Criminal Trespass. He always comes back. He likes to follow women to their cars begging and badgering them for money. A couple of things I have overheard him say are:

"Come on, just a little more? Couldn't you just give me twenty bucks?"
"Look just go back, open up and grab some money out of the till, no one will ever know."

If he doesn't get any or enough he curses them out and tosses out racial slurs if they aren't white. I chased him once and he lost all the change out of his pockets. I made one of our more docile panhandlers in the area aware of loss so he could collect on it. Again, I felt satisfied - as thuggish as that makes me feel.
Still, I am about to get my OFA Level II and become a First Aid Attendant, so here is to better days.

Corporate Terrorism

I caught a BBC documentary on CBC's The Passionate Eye about the McLibel case, or McDonald's v Morris and Steel, in the UK. This case should be of interest to those of you who love Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me and to those of who don't. (or couldn't be bothered) If you care to check out the link to Wikipedia's page on the subject (which has a host of other links) you can read about how McDonalds filed a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation" (making the acronym SLAPP) against two working class environmental activists using the United Kingdom's then draconian libel laws, which placed the burden of proof solely on the shoulders of the defendant(s) who were not permitted legal aid.
McDonald's had used to Britain's libel laws to threaten fifty different organisations during the 1980's, including assorted media outlets, into making public apologies and broadcasting/printing retractions. A Multi-National like McD's has deep pockets and access to top-notch legal counsel, apparently able to bully many people into silence and pacification.


Blogger Geosomin said...

It IS odd how the "possible presence" of authority is enough. In university I used to drive an old blue Malibu that looked like a cop car. I had an orange thermos and discovered, quite by accident, that when I put the cap on my dash people would slow way down and drive too cautiously cuz they thought I was a ghost car...until they saw it was just some kid driving.
I'm glad you can take the attitude you do towards people. Often being security or working with difficult people can make you buitter or jaded. I'm so glad you can somehow turn it and use it for good.

24 May, 2006 13:52  

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