Stayed up all night writing lofty incantations that in the morning were stanzas of gibberish.
Sat on my porch, smoking a joint. I could see the police station from the balcony, but in this city, especially in the summer, that wasn’t really a problem. Someone with a Ph.D. had come up with this theory called “Community Policing” which basically meant that there were more small police stations close to “communities” with fewer people. The idea was the police officers would become part of the community, which could lead to crime decreases amongst “community members.” “Community members,” I’m sure you realise are really just dark skinned kids who live in ethnic ghettos. Of course all the cops that end up there are white.
But community policing I said? Yes. For me, right then, it meant that there was one policewoman who no one trusted to be able to take down the big-bad-drug-dealers – which was fair because she’s five foot two, and weighs maybe a hundred pounds – was sitting behind the front desk, barely seeing over the counter, waiting for someone to stumble in bloody and say they’d been shot. She was lit with those crappy neon overhead lights that you see in old strip malls and in every elementary school on the planet. She was just a shadow window.
There was her superior sitting in the back, or on the sun roof even though he’s on duty. Or he’s responding to the crime of the century – Jake Phillips over on Elm’s bicycle was stolen. Again. Everyone in the neighborhood had had at least one bike stolen while they’d lived here. We, me and my sister, have lost four bicycles to petty theft. But we always go out and buy new ones, cause there’s always a one hundred and twenty five one every year at Canadian Tire. So where do all the bicycles go, long time passing, I want to know. Do they evaporate, or disintegrate, or any of the wrong things for a bicycle to do? Perhaps they deconstruct themselves, eventually releasing the ball bearings in the pedal axle to spread bicycle reproductive material out into the world of fertile concrete where eventually Canadian Tires will land and take root into the ball bearing impregnated soil and draw up the genetic material of my, our, stolen bikes? Is there a bicycle cycle like there is a water cycle – where things rise and fall and have physical but not chemical changes?
So her supervisor does nothing. He sits and she waits. I wonder if the original meaning of the verb to wait is wait on, as in, to serve. Or was it to wait, for time to pass which is categorised by one’s anticipation of an event? Would it matter? Of course it would, because if the former were true feminists would want to reconstruct language to excuse the word wait, because women are the original waiters – those who wait on. For sure it was the women. It’s always the women. Of course, if the latter were true, another group of revisionist historian feminists would maintain that women, by being more sedentary in most agrarian societies, it was women who were always forced to wait for, to depend on the arrival and support of the male portions of the society, either to bring food, or to govern where societies were matriarchal. Thus we should just banish the word regardless. Someone’s bound to be right.
But the supervisor. He is waiting too, waiting for his wife to call, dreading her call, wanting it to come early so that he can get it over and done with, perhaps awaiting it with joy because it breaks the monotony of his day sitting on the roof top. He is waiting to be promoted for his efforts to rid this “community” of petty bicycle theft. This is what he daydreams about, up there on the roof. The day he’s handed the keys to his very own cubicle at some headquarters where he can do menial labour for someone else. It doesn’t matter that his change of work numbers is really a lateral shift, maybe even a demotion, but it is perceived as such by his fellow members of the police brotherhood, because it takes their fat white asses out of “community policing.” Oh, you thought that they’d actually become friends with those gender-profiled twelve year olds, encourage them to stay in school, not do drugs, not jack bicycles, and improve their profiles on the force? No, they haven’t. They hit those kids at twelve, they’re too late. They were ten the first time someone passed them a joint and their older brother – at fourteen – had already tried it, so they didn’t want to disappoint, so they sucked on it, not knowing what they were doing and now they run my drugs to me on my balcony but that last-man-standing outpost of the police brotherhood, and the twelve year olds live on the other side of the street, and that’s where the line is, right down the middle. They’re all the wrong side of the tracks, the track marks – yellow slices of needle points that run down the elbowing street.
Yes, they can’t arrest me, even if they noticed and wanted to, because my “community police station” was seven blocks down and ten up, at the corner of our ghetto, where they stop racially profiled kids of a slightly lighter shade of brown from jacking bikes and smoking weed. Now for me to go on about how I care about the kids in the business would be mighty hypocritical of me cause I’m a pothead too, see. So I will tell you this first. Ten is too young to be smoking anything anyway. Your lungs are still growing kid, at least let them meet their full potential before you start making them shrink. But kids are stupid, I know that, so they’re going to do it anyway, whatever anyone says. At first I tried not to buy from the kids, you know, symbolic stand against the oppression of children – some political science guy wrote about that – but then one of them showed up with a gun, but he was one of the older kids, thirteen I think, so I decided that my stand against things was going to do any good so I stopped. Now I just make sure that I have one rolled from the last batch to smoke with the kid as he’s dropping it off, you know, make his day better or something.
Two, kids who smoke pot don’t read. It’s a fact. People who grew up reading will be good enough at it to tackle Rilke and pot at the same time and it’ll very much extend the feeling, just like good jazz and beat poetry will. Beat poetry especially – it makes more sense when you’re stoned than when you’re sober anyway. But it’s all meditative right? So it just goes down easy like good gin and wraps its arms around you and sets this rhythm in your head – one might even say the beat – and it just covers you in pictures as your mind fills up. It’s like one how-to-talk-to-kids-about-drugs books that mother and father left in the bathroom so that I would read it while on the can – one sign that your kids might be on drugs is if you find them acting strangely, saying that they can hear colours, or smell sounds, or the like. Sure, maybe that’s the case when I’m the right amount of stoned and sitting in a nice subtle place, you can feel the pink vibrating at just the right frequency so you can feel it through the couch. The catch, of course is that it is vibrating. It’s a vibration that is slowed down from sound, and just off the spectrum of sound to the reds and pinks. Try explaining that to your mother while you’re stoned, though. You’re going to trip over all your words and she’s going to be waving your stash back in front of you and you’ll be hypnotised by the swaying and wanting to more to get yourself calm enough to explain to your mother that you do in fact, smoke weed.
She says, are you addicted, and you laugh in a well-schooled way, of course not mom. I’m smarter than that, remember – valedictorian of high school, honours degree in university? If there is anyone who knows that they shouldn’t smoke pot, it’s you, you only do it occasionally, for fun, with friends, that what she’s holding has lasted you the past six weeks, that you really don’t smoke a lot. You say that a lot. Things are starting to clear up. Things have started to defog on your world, coffee, cold from breakfast, is within reach, and memory tells you that cups are above the coffee machine, you manage not to break it, and finally make it to the microwave, where things become blurry again as you focus, trying to make out the numbers that are appearing on the screen. Hold on, what’s that? Does that really say “press start”? is your microwave speaking to you? Is there a conspiracy of secretly liberal Alberta cattle ranchers who secretly spread their insidious message of more small farms, banish conglomerates, more organic food and fewer pesticides, through the microwave. Have you really just discovered a portal through time and space to where they monitor a hundred thousand microwaves world wide. They only have to monitor one hundred thousand, because even though there are two hundred thousand people with microwaves, half of them have already been convinced of the secretly liberal Alberta cattle rancher’s message of more small farms, banishing conglomerates, growing more organic food and using fewer pesticides, and have thus come to work at the monitoring station. You realise that in having discovered the secretly liberal Alberta cattle ranchers, you have been drafted into the campaign, leaving you trapped to watch a microwave until the end of your days. You will not get to say goodbye to your parents or friends, you are just expropriated to the cause.
The cause that creates Thanksgiving family tragedies where the loose-end kids get sucked into microwave hell. But no one cares because it just means that they don’t have to monitor loose-end kid’s behaviour all the time. That’s the new one, behaviour. Apparently, we all have it, it’s just never really been studied in terms of how that relates to raising your child. But now we know that the key thing is to observe behaviour. Because behaviour is clearer – kids are adept liars. They do it naturally. They are convinced to lie by their parents – “don’t tell mom we went to dairy queen, ok son?” – and they are taught to lie by their peers – “well we won’t get in trouble if no one finds out.” That is clear from the start, that kids like to break rules. One of our favorite taunts was to say nanny-nanny-poo-poo-Dorothy’s-in-trouble.
What has she set her mind to? Perhaps she wanted to be a police woman.
Just a warning, this is very, very long.
x-posted to mad_duluozions