Strange Sightings Vol. XXVI
It's long been the case that I haven't liked cops. They are (in my opinion) assholes, drunk with power, only able to see the world in terms of stereotypes. I don't have a need for them. They've never prevented me from being burgled or in any way harmed. Particularly in Denver, where recently and possibly still, they lead the nation in fatal shootings. Moreover, it is possible to be too intelligent to become a cop- there are actual limits on the high end to their exams. That's what you'd like to see- someone too smart to carry a gun and uphold the law.
So imagine my horror when I left my office today and there were cops as far as the eye could see, sitting on motorcycles. Parked motorcycles. I would not have guessed the city of Seattle had so many. These murderous spot-tax collectors were just sitting there. Doing nothing. Waiting for 4PM when a protest march was to come down the block. During the wait, a big utility type truck with orange cones and traffic routing stuff came up the street, beside the parked motorcycles and was trying to go straight to the next block, but one of the older cops, resplendent in his 1970's porn star moustache, now fully gray, was screaming and apoplectically insisting that the truck turn left. To my amazement, the driver of the truck put it in park and opened the door and starting shouting back to the cop (in a manner that invites a Rodney King reception- hey I hate cops, but I know better than to give them a goddamned inch of reason to kill me. I'd sooner fuck with a raccoon with rabies). I don't know if the truck driver was aware or not, but the protest march had started and mobs of people were closing in on the argument. The trucker had the upper hand, and the cop knew it. In the end, Sgt. Frosty McHairlip let the truck go by, and cussed the driver out. Seattles finest.
If only I'd had a jelly donut to throw into the mix, just to watch them tear into each other like Christmas shoppers after a Tickle Me Elmo...
So anyway, the protest march then came along and signs on sticks were apparently required. Drums, bells, chanting, the whole package. As I stood there wondering how all of this was going to affect the bus ride home, I couldn't help but think it was all a bit of 'preaching to the choir". I mean, does anyone in this very blue state want to stand up and defend this so-called "war"? The message was misdirected. In my book, you first determine who your opponents are, and then target them. These people were just having fun I think. Well no- not all of them.
I got something signifigant from the spectacle. Somewhere in the mix of drumming and chanting masses, a woman came walking along without a sign on a stick or banner, or bell, or drum. She was prbably in her late 50's and was holding a picture of (presumably) her son. There was rain on it and my eyesight isn't what it used to be, but it said (I think) specialist Randy something, or maybe it said Rusty. It was an "R" name and the soldier pictured was shown trying to look like the hardend killer that the Army likes, but I wasn't seeing it. He had a young face and looked as though he couldn't look threatening on a bet. He was warm and human. He was someone real and individual. He died in late 2005. I looked at this image and up to this point I'd been looking at the crowds and laughing at the pantomime heads and funny jingoistic signs and had been chuckling to myself. This image stopped me cold. I wasn't smiling. I looked up at the woman that was holding this image and she was quietly walking. I can scarcely imagine the hurt that she has known. I can't pretend to understand. I looked at her face and she had warmth in the cold and noisy rain that stood out. We made eye contact, and I was still taking in the gravity of her message, and she smiled. I couldn't hardly believe it. She smiled! In this town where people make eye contact and never change from their stone blank expressions- SHE smiled. I couldn't help it- I smiled too.
Then I teared up a bit, but you know- it was just the rain.