Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Today I woke up wanting to write about the process - the process of thinking, the experience of life in real time.
I don't want to bore you with some rambling inner journey - that's boring. But while this is in the style of James Joyce's stream of consciousness - it is, importantly I think, the journey towards truth revealed, consciousness that is gleened though interaction with people - interaction with the culture of a neighbourhood.
Some days you wake up and you see the world anew. Things that weren't there yesterday are as plain as the nose on you face the today. Today is one of those days for me.
I went for my usual walk this morning, my regular route, about a 45 minute walk around the neighbourhood. I've seen the gambling in the parkette before, it's obvious. I've seen the houses rented, with front businesses that are in fact, gambling houses. I've seen the look-outs hanging on the corners; smoking cigarette after cigarette, keeping an eye on me for a moment - sussing - then on to the next one...
I've seen the 'bums' too; the under-cover cops. You can tell because they're not regulars like real bums - they appear, and then you never see them again. Real bums find a safe, sheltered place to sleep with a good spot nearby to ask for money - a village where they're comfortable - and remain as long as allowed. Until a young Friday-night-drunk threatens them, or a Parks Worker gives them the boot by 'stealing' (garbaging) all their stuff -- they stay.
But these ones... they're too dirty, too unkempt; too young and virile under all those layers of over sized clothes. They are not 'down on their luck' - they're dressed up - you feel like they're about to make a play on you. The eyes, if your able to connect, are shifty, strong and searching. This one, you think, had a good meal last night, maybe a thief - or a cop.
But today I saw much more. Today I saw the pretty Mule coming out of the Bank. You can tell because they wear expensive, sexy shoes - but their eyes, their demeanor, their costume says used, abused - they're working for someone who likes them to look pretty - hanging around all day, doing nothing - pretending busy. Nothing really to do but the odd trip to the bank. It's a great job - why not wear uncomfortable shoes if that's all they ask - for now.
On my daily walk I've seen it all before - but what made me think that today I was blessed with incisive vision was that as I looked away from the pretty mule, my eyes landed on The Big Guy, following her out of the bank. Poof! Awareness! At that moment, the Mule, the Bank and the Money-Laundry across the street - came the undercover cop, The Big Guy.
He wouldn't have been a cop at any other moment, but because he appeared at that instant, at that place I saw him for who he was. The sudden epiphany must have shown on my face, our eyes locked - he and I knew immediately - we were in the same place. You could feel it in the air - our universes had just clicked, the field lines had just intersected, a spark happened, a connection. I knew and he knew too - but just for a second. Then the neurosis, the denials that protect us from the truths we hide came slamming back into place - for him - but not for me. I had grasped the panorama. I had touched the sky.
As I followed him down the street, as he was going in the same direction, he turned a couple of times, just a cock of his head, watching me peripherally - to check. I watched as he got into his late model white van with no markings - the ones the undercover cops always use - and drive away.
* * *
It's been a year, the gamblers have completely taken over the park now. I wonder how long this game the police and the mob play goes on generally. I've decided to pick up the cigarette butts next to the kids play area in the parkette; they're so thick you almost can't see the inter-locking bricks... . Where are those 'Park Workers' I wonder.