Tag Archives: safety

The Coddled Society

playgrounds, overprotective, children, safety,coddling, protection

Creative Commons: Los Angeles CB Grant

Hundreds of years ago a child was only a child for so long. When they got big enough to walk and carry, that’s what they did. When they got big enough to hold a sword, they learned how to use one. When they could ride a horse, shear a sheep, seed the ground or chop food, they did. There was no waiting until you were of driving age, drinking age, voting age. There was no waiting, sitting and playing while mom and dad prepared things for you. Childhood probably lasted until about the age of five and then you were put to work. Even if you were noble, you were learning the ways of society and ruling at an early age.

Anyone who’s lived on a farm knows this lifestyle. Farm kids don’t sit and watch TV before or after school. They feed chickens, milk cows, bale hay, muck out pens and do a myriad of chores to keep the farm running. Third world countries have higher populations and larger families because, in their poverty, the more hands that can work then the more money and food they can bring in, even if there are more mouths to feed. I don’t just say this. Studies show that populations slow and stabilize the more a country moves towards a good economy.

As a child I learned to cook and bake by the time I was eight,with my mother guiding. I helped stir bowls of batter, added eggs and made hamburger patties, basted turkeys. I was cooking on my own by the age of ten. I had to pick up after myself, vacuum, wash dishes, polish and dust. My siblings of both genders had to do the same. We walked to school, a good mile distant, from grades 1-12. We walked in sun, and in rain, in hail and in snow. I remember the big snowsuit in grade one and so much snow that I was late every day for a week. But I walked, by myself.

My mother told us to go outside and play. If we said we were bored you can bet she’d give us chores. Sure we had to check in or tell her where we were going and I remember getting in hot water because I went off and played in the alley with my sister and her friend at the age of four, and didn’t tell my mother. But I did it, without constant adult supervision.

My hand wasn’t held as I slid down the slide, I wasn’t told I was too young to bake. We learned and we grew self-sufficient. I could cook and drive when I moved out on my own and in with my boyfriend. And so could he. I’ve met men (more than women) who couldn’t cook because mommy had done everything for their sons or only children. I’ve met people who couldn’t iron and lived in pigsties because they were never taught to clean up. And I meet people who think children have to be protected 24/7.

Many threats to children haven’t increased over the years, but media coverage of kidnappings and perverts have. I drive by a school where the parents are lined up to drop off their children. I’ve read about a school that was going to raze a low hill because the children might fall down it. I’ve read and seen playground slides lowered, guards put up, safety nets added so that children can’t bump or scrape or get a few of life’s bruises.

And what do studies show, out of Norway and the US? That people who are coddled so much grow up with more anxieties, are less likely to take any risks and find all of the world a big scary place. In essence, they become victims of parenting. Never has there been an age where children were padded, wrapped, helmeted, swaddled and overly protected from the daily aspects of living. Sure, don’t leave toxic chemicals in the reach of a baby but teach your children how to be cautious yet adventuresome, and how to apply thought and learning. We never would have hit the age of exploration if all those searfaring adventurers had been raised as coddled children. Let your children live a little.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Culture, environment, family, life, people, security

RCMP & Police Vie For Worst Enforcers

It seems in BC that both police forces, the municipal police and the RCMP, have not yet learned a lesson on justice and temperance. They still continue to see how badly they can tarnish their reputation.

I actually feel sorry for all the good cops out there and I still believe they are a majority, but it looks pretty bad when police brutality and general thuggery seems to be worse than what the criminals are doing. The latest took place in Vancouver last week. Police were called to a home about a domestic disturbance and when the man open the door they pummeled him. There are so many errors in what happened that it should be embarrassing for the police force and have them re-examine their training of officers.

First, the plainclothes policemen went to the wrong door. It was another suite in the house. Second, when they encountered a man, Yao Wei Wu, who didn’t speak much English they didn’t check their facts or name. They pulled him outside and bludgeoned him. Third, the statement released initially said that the man resisted arrest and slammed the door on him. And that he received “minor injuries.” Right, minor injuries with his eye swollen shut and bones broken in his face. PoliceBeatAnotherInnocent.

Does anyone see a problem here? Even if the police had got the right door, they decided to beat and ask questions later. They’re supposed to make arrests and not escalate situations but here we go with them yet again feeling they can beat up anyone they see, whether criminal or not. And look at the police statement. Blatant lying. I think we’d get more honesty from the mafia at this point.

Let’s add to that the three off-duty cops who beat up and robbed a newspaper delivery man (also not white). Let’s look at the four hulking RCMP officers who tasered Dziekanski to death. Let’s look at the RCMP officer in northern BC who shot a man in the back of the head in self defence. Let’s look at any person who runs from the police who is unarmed. They’re not even tasered now; they’re shot. And they’re not shot in the foot or arm to disarm them. They’re shot in the head and the gut and any place else that will make sure they can’t bring an accusation against the police. ManShotinStomach.

It used to be that police were trained to subdue and to not shoot to kill unless their lives were immediately threatened with something like returned gunfire, not by staplers and matte knives. Now they just aim to kill. How man of the cases where a person was killed in police custody has ended up with an investigating inditing the police of wrongdoing? None of the ones I’ve mentioned here. Except well maybe the taser inquiry but all those RCMP are still working and none were even reprimanded.

If you are a criminal out there, here is how crime pays. Become a police officer. They’ll even give you a gun. Beat up or shoot people without asking any questions. Jump to conclusions and then just lie through your teeth. The police force will support you and even if you’re investigated you might get a monetary slap on the hand. Otherwise, you’ll be more successful in your crime than if you stayed on the “wrong side of the law.”

For anyone coming to Vancouver during Stalag 2010, sorry I mean the Olympics, you better be polite. Don’t wave at the police. They might take you for a terrorist. Don’t yell, don’t scream, and don’t call for help. Because you might find yourself beaten before they figure out you’re the victim. I’d like to believe that only the good cops will be on the streets and they are the majority but pray that no matter what you don’t get a bad one because the law will not be on your side.

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, life, news, people, security

Pedestrians and Cars: A Two-Way Street

I cannot imagine what our ancestors of long ago would have thought of our casual disregard for motor vehicles. Tons of metal hurtle towards us and we will blithely walk in front of them with presumptions of our safety. And we, as drivers, hold these leviathans at our fingertips, feeling invincible as we do so.

But the truth is that hundreds of people are injured and killed everyday, the world over, because of cars, trucks, buses. Here in Vancouver, and most of Canada, pedestrians have the right of way. That’s most to protect the flesh and bone as they’re more vulnerable that people in cars. However, should a person run into traffic or jaywalk I believe they still have the right of way, even if they are breaking the law. But it’s great way to get yourself made into road pizza.

In Vancouver, the areas that have a lot of shops tend to be the ones that will bring out the jaywalking. I will never ever jaywalk if a car is coming because I don’t believe in inconveniencing people who truly have the right of way, just because I want to skip an extra minute by walking to the corner. I have watched people and been in my car having people step out into the middle of traffic or saunter across, or end up stopping the flow because in laziness they can’t wait.

This gets back to my pet peeve of the me-me-me world where everyone only thinks of themselves. The selfish pedestrians inconvenience the drivers and other folks because they pretend they own the world. Conversely, the selfishness of drivers can be even more deadly than the accidents that law-disregarding pedestrians cause.

Too many people pay no attention but to the road in front of them. A good driver and a law-abiding one is supposed to be reading signs and watching what goes on around. Without reading you won’t know if you’re in a construction zone, if the speed limit changes, or if there is a merge lane. And without observing what’s going on around you (in a non-rubbernecking way) you won’t know that traffic flow will change, that a person is crossing a street or someone has signalled and is backing up to parallel park.

It is every driver’s responsibility to pay attention and observe. That doesn’t mean pulling out into oncoming traffic just because your signal is on (if it’s on) but do so when it’s safe. The same goes for changing lanes. And should you see someone standing at a crosswalk, you are supposed to stop and let them cross, not zoom through because they can cross after. I have almost been smeared because I was more than halfway through the crosswalk when someone decided to just keep going. People get clipped when cars turn corners.

Of course car manufacturers can be blamed for some of this. My Saturn has a huge blind spot and when I’m turning a corner I have to look behind and in front of this blind spot. However, I almost hit someone when turning one night, not because I wasn’t looking but because it was dark and raining and this guy decided to run across the street. I only saw legs flashing by as I hit the brake. It behooves every person to keep a healthy ounce of self-preservation and realize that it is sometimes hard for drivers to see in rain, fog, snow and dark.

And yesterday I almost hit a bicyclist. I signalled, stopped and looked both ways, then pulled out to turn from an alley. But this guy sailed in front of me at a fast speed and there had been a parked van to my left. Every person on the street, whether driver, bicyclist, pedestrian (and god forbid, skateboarders) needs to consider what their actions will cause, and think about if a driver/pedestrian can see them. Crossing the street that has no lighting and wearing all black at night makes you hard to see. Consider that and make sure the driver has seen you before you step in front of them.

Pedestrians, use the corners and crosswalks and don’t dash in front of cars. Drivers, consider the road, the signs and the people along the walks. Follow the rules and laws of the road and consider that you’re not the only one on it. If more people just did this; pay more attention, be aware and conduct themselves safely, we could probably cut down on accidents by 30%.

Leave a comment

Filed under cars, crime, Culture, driving, health, life, people, travel

Big Brother IS Watching, You and You and Me

George Orwell, like a fair number of science fiction  writers (Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, Dick and others), visualized some aspect of a future world, perhaps an alternate world but created a story nonetheless that had some essence of things to come.

As Wikipedia says: The novel has become famous for its portrayal of pervasive government surveillance and control, and government’s increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual. Since its publication, many of its terms and concepts, such as “Big Brother“, “doublethink“, and “Newspeak” have entered the popular vernacular.

Indeed, the phrase “Big Brother is watching” is synonymous with too much government control, or the totalitarianism that Orwell feared. After 9/11 and the right-wing paranoia of the Bush administration we saw the rise of Homeland Security, where people’s rights were taken away. Some disappeared into Guantanamo without anyone knowing where they went, without any legal aid or advice. Others, while flying through the US, were shipped off to other countries for torture, regardless of what their citizenship was.  The phrase “Homeland Security” is reminiscent of the Fatherland (Hitler’s Third Reich) and the Motherland (Communist Russia). Though these last two are examples of extreme right wing and extreme left wing governments, they both encompass a totalitarianism and the circumventing of the rights of the individual, for the greater good, for the country.

It used to be that a camera trained on you and watching your every move was considered an invasion of privacy. Many years ago, before Homeland Security, my boyfriend had a friend in Calgary that worked for the local telecommunications company (at that time AGT–Alberta Government Telephones). He could not say what he did but it involved hidden cameras trained onto the streets outside the buildings. Every war commander knows that the way to break the enemy, to overcome them, is to either hinder or monitor their communications.  So every wise nation protects its communications and every ambitious or suspicious nation spies on its perceived enemies and communicates what it sees.

There are numerous instances of spy planes and spies. We accept that that is what countries do. There are cameras on you at the border or at your bank machine, to protect you. There are cameras on the roads now, webcams we call them, that show us the line-up at ferries, or freeways, or intersections, or borders. These are all informative pictures that we can use to plan around daily obstacles. But that is not their main purpose. They are surveillance methods to watch and control people, and to identify someone should there have been an accident, a murder, an escape.

There are those that argue that we need the greater security. We need protection from the evil terrorist/mugger/alien/your favorite bad guy. And yes, we do need some form of security, but there comes a time when government or police forces are also watching too much and our individual freedom is curtailed. I would say there is not one person who has not committed a small crime or infringement, whether it’s lying, cheating, jaywalking, running a yellow light, or drinking too much. Which means, that we’re all human and if allowed our little indiscretions, will most likely not make the bigger ones.

When I worked for Nokia, there were cameras everywhere. Corporate espionage is high. However, with all those cameras in the halls and the reception area, they were not allowed to train cameras on our workspaces, nor in the bathrooms. I’m not sure what the exact law it but watching someone 24/7 is not allowed. The head of security also told us that though they viewed all video footage they could not report on such things as two people having sex in the office. This video footage was only for such crimes as theft and breaking and entering.

Sarnia, Ontario is upset over a US surveillance balloon that watches over the river. The company claims it can be used for disaster planning, and other situations that arise. However, the mayor of Sarnia says that when the balloon (with camera inside that can see for 5 miles) first went up the company said it was for Homeland Security, but now they sing another song and say it’s not trained on Sarnia and it’s just research.

Google Earth has already heard concerns about their filming of much of the world, down to vans with cameras driving on the streets. And that many of these cameras take a picture of everything on the street, including you getting into your car, coming and going, and in some cases right into your windows to see what you’re up to. Sure, they claim it’s inadvertent but the pictures of us are showing up everywhere, even if we eliminate You Tube.

The 2010 Olympics will see a gigantic increase in security forces in and around Vancouver. They will be putting up many more cameras than are already up, by government and private businesses. After the Athens Olympics all extra cameras were supposed to come down. Instead the police turned them into citizen surveillance systems. Hello, Big Brother. BC’s privacy commissioner has promised that we won’t have the same situation.

Taken from A Report on Camera Surveillance in Canada: “Despite the growth in CCTV, there is not convincing  research evidence that it aids in deterring, responding to and investigating crime.” That’s just one study but the Big Brother security folks want to sell cameras and keep their jobs and probably think we should live in a society that watches your every move and therefore you must behave. http://www.surveillanceproject.org/files/SCAN_Report_Phase1_Final_Jan_30_2009.pdf

There is a group counting the cameras in Greater Vancouver before the Olympics so that people can, in general be aware of how much surveillance there always is. But if you plan to come to the Olympics and actually venture anywhere public in Vancouver, you can bet that you’ll be filmed. In fact, there is probably not a street in any commercial area that doesn’t have one camera or another. It’s pretty impossible to remain invisible these days unless you’re in the boonies. Big Brother is here, and is watching all of us right now.  And maybe, just maybe, Big Brother likes to watch.

 

1 Comment

Filed under crime, Culture, history, life, news, people, security

Horror Hotel: Travelodge Review

If you travel to it, it will lodge in you like a cancerous tumor.

My sister and I drove up to Edmonton, Alberta for my brother’s surprise birthday. My sister-in-law had paid for a room at the Travelodge on 45 Ave.  As we drove in we noticed the nearly empty parking lot and mounds of dirt. Okay they were renovating or changing the lot. We go in and it’s relatively small as “hotels” go though I would call it more a motel. A little pool right off the front desk.

We went to register and they found it right away. Good so far except then the guy asks how we are going to pay for the room. My sister said, It’s already paid for. She came in personally to pay for it. (We didn’t have a confirmation number but it was supposed to be more than confirmed.) The guy says there’s nothing here. He looks in the written book and it just has my name, no other information. We insist it’s been paid for and he says, there is nothing we can do.

As we’re standing there two guys come in from down the hall. One is wiry, bald, very long mustachios and a few tattoos. He’s already looking florid. He said something about paying for, and booking, the hotel online and how his friend (who had booked it)  was charged a month before they even got it. But the room they were given had air conditioning that wasn’t working (it’s 35 degrees Celsius in Edmonton right now). They’d shown him another room that was dingy and just as bad. In a livid rage he said he wanted his money back as the guy said, we can’t do that. There is nothing we can do.

We watch all this, now getting a true sense of Travelodge. As this guy rants the staff member goes, I’m senior management, there’s nothing we can do. It’s policy (like a broken record) which just makes this biker guy madder. He and and his friend say we’re going to post this on the internet. I’m not sure what eventually happened there as we were trying to deal with our problem. We can’t call my sister-in-law directly as this is supposed to be a surprise birthday for my brother. So I call my other brother but he’s enroute and can’t pass the message on.

So we reiterate that my sister-in-law came in Wednesday or Thursday in person and paid for the room. There is also a girl behind the desk and she says oh she would have booked the room by phone. But we say, maybe but she came in to pay. If she booked it by phone do you have a credit card number then? Can you check to see if she made a payment in her name? Then we get, we only use a credit card on the phone to hold a room. Well do you ever charge to it? No, we only hold a room. I ask, what happens if I don’t show up for my room then? Do you charge it? No, we never do that. Then why do you take the credit card as confirmation? You don’t understand, we only use it to hold the room. But if you actually never use it to charge for a room I could make up a number, couldn’t I?

Anyways, we go around like that for a bit with the supposedly “senior management” guy looking back through they payments made and saying there is nothing. There is nothing we can do. So my sister and I cart our luggage back to the car. It’s too early for the party so we just opening the car and trying to figure out what we can do when some other guy runs out and says oh they want to see you at the front desk. We had already been there for a half hour trying to sort this out. As we walk back in the girl comes out and says there has been a big misunderstanding that in fact yes, my sister-in-law had paid for the room and in fact the supposedly senior management guy had not read the deposit column. So, we do have a room but they had made no notation anywhere that it had been paid for or anything. I have to say the girl was apologetic. The other guy was arrogant and unhelpful and made the situation worse.

We walked down the dimly lit corridor with a well worn brown carpet. They were putting us on the first floor of a three floor hotel. We went into the hotel room, noticing the sagging beds, but got ready for the evening. There is a mirror in the bathroom and one full length one near the door. The outlet in the bathroom didn’t work for a flat-iron and there was no outlet near the other mirror. Other outlets were not flush to the wall, with plastered holes showing but not painted. The room was dim even with all the lights on (a desk lamp, a floor lamp and two bed lamps). My sister tried another outlet that didn’t work. Oh, and yes, there were ants in the bathroom. So on our way out we said, there are ants, the outlet doesn’t work in the bathroom nor in the room.

They were supposed to have fixed it but when we returned at 2:30 am there were over a dozen ants in the bathroom. Big ants. I flushed about ten down the drain, and we called them up. Instead of saying, sorry and coming to us and helping us move to another room, they made us pack up everything and come to the front desk so that we could then move to another room. Where it turned out the air conditioner barely put out slightly cool air through the night, the outlet in the bathroom didn’t work, another outlet in the wall didn’t work, the beds were uncomfortable and the pillows as lumpy as oatmeal. These rooms weren’t cheap and cost about $140 a night.

If Travelodge offered me a free week at their hotels I wouldn’t take it. The hotel was so rundown looking, the beds so bad (and the sheets were wrinkled and made us suspicious that they hadn’t been changed), the rooms so shabby that I haven’t stayed in something this bad since India. Their overall lack of customer service and sheer arrogance was offputting. And whether those guys who had booked through the internet and had read the info correctly or not, there are better ways to diffuse a situation than what these guys did. Be warned. I would consider this chain of hotels to be any better elsewhere.

Leave a comment

Filed under consumer affairs, Culture, life, people, travel

Deplorable Drivers of the Lower Mainland

I have decided to start doing this weekly because the driving habits of many people are just terrible. Let’s mention inconsiderate and selfish too. I remember a few years back when driving in Saskatchewan, I couldn’t believe how polite drivers were. If you were coming up on a car on a single lane highway, it would just automatically pull over to let you by.

In BC and Alberta, that car would drive like no one was on the road, or even slow down to irritate you. If it was a two lane road, that car would not move from the left-hand “fast” lane and if you then tried to pass in the right-hand lane, it would speed up.

Road rage. One man has just been charge in the murder of a young man last year, when the guy first forced the people off the road and then came back to run them over. In one sense I can understand road rage because people are just not paying attention or think that the world does in fact revolve around them. Listen up, people. You’re unique because no one else quite has your DNA but everyone is unique and everyone has a right to a decent life.

You don’t own the world or even your patch of road. You may not even own your car but if you do, you’re responsible for driving in a polite and safe manner. Remember, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means, don’t wait for someone to be nice to you first, just carry out your life and do things as you would like to find them. Let someone in in traffic, if you would like to be let in at some time. Don’t sideswipe someone, unless you want it done to you. Don’t shoot someone, unless you want to be shot. It seems a pretty simple principle to live by but obviously it’s not.

Today, I’m listing two losers of the week. The first, Mr. Sporty Red Truck with a cherry red finish (BC licence # BA 9595) decided that he owned the road on Monday, January 12th on Commercial Dr. at Gravely. I was waiting at the corner to cross, but in Vancouver, you can’t just wait, even though by law, pedestrians have the right of way. I step off the curb and start to walk out slow. It was dark, yes, about 10:30 pm, but I moved out slowly (and I always watch because I have a good reason for not trusting drivers). I was into the middle of the oncoming lane when Mr. Sporty Red Truck decided that he wouldn’t stop for me and swerved around me, missing me by two inches. I yelled, “Hey, asshole” at him and was so mad that I’m writing this. Plain and simple, pedestrians have the right of way at ever corner, whether there is a crosswalk or not.

If you don’t know this, you should turn in your licence. There are rules of the road, which are law, and there are rules of the road, which come into common courtesies. The latter would be letting someone in who is signalling and not blocking them out.

The second loser of the week was  Thursday, January 15th, at 10:50 am, one Mrs. Silver Van (BC licence# 809 LBX) at the merge lane of the #1 Highway joining onto the Brunette Highway going west/south. It’s a merge lane. It says merge. The lane disappears.  Merge means just that. Like the large semi before me, I came up the ramp and signalled to get into the lane. The semi merged. I let the car in the left lane go by and, continually signalling, began to merge into the lane as is the way. One car from the left, one car from the right, one car from the left, etc. BTW, signalling is not an option; it’s the law.

Mrs. Silver Van not only closed the gap on me but start pushing me back into that disappearing lane, laying on her horn. The thing was that lane also ramps off to a right-turn lane, but there was no way she was going to let me in, into the thick of traffic. I really would have loved to see her shove over the semi. So Mrs. Silver Van, giant asshole that you have exhibited yourself to be, may you get a flat tire in the pouring cold rain, and find your jack doesn’t work and that no one will stop to help you because you could exhibit a common courtesy.

I have stronger words for these two people running through my head but I’m trying to censor myself. I really wished I had rotten tomatoes for that van, and the truck, though for the truck a sharp piece of metal would have worked, and I wouldn’t even have reached out. I always try to stop for people at crosswalks and corners. Once in a while I don’t seem them until it’s too late, but if they’re on the road, I do always stop.

So, drivers, you don’t own the road, you won’t die if you stop for someone, or let someone in. And if next time you’re trying to merge or change lanes and no one will let you in, well that’s why. People aren’t always in a race against you. Sometimes they just want to turn a corner or get to their destination. Play nice in the sandbox or your mother will ground you.

Leave a comment

Filed under cars, crime, Culture, driving, people, travel

Perverts of the Past

There are hazards to being a woman, where you can be subjected to certain…displays. I’ve lived in Vancouver for quite a few years and in the West End, around Main and Cambie, and in East Vancouver. I’ve never lived in scary areas but in your normal range of dwellings; not upscale but still nice areas with families or many people. I’ve never lived near an area notorious for drugs and other criminal activities.

Still, in the course of just being a person I’ve seen my share of wankers. The most innocuous was the guy standing below the Burrard St. bridge in white socks and runners and nothing else. He looked up at the people walking over the bridge and played with himself. I found it hilarious and ludicrous.

Unfortunately the other incidents were closer. I was on a bus one day around 6 pm. I sat near the middle of the bus, on a seat beside someone, not even looking as I put my money away. The bus was full of people. I realized there was a rhythmic hand movement coming from the guy beside me. I got up and moved toward the front of the bus, disconcerted. In those days I was a little too timid to say anything. But an elderly man standing beside me said, do you know what that man was doing? I said I suspected and that’s why I stood. The guy got off at the next stop (no pun intended).

After that I moved to E. Van and into a ground floor suite. I asked my landlord for curtain rods (my landlords live above me) but he said, what do you need curtain rods for? Their main floor doesn’t have curtains on any of the back windows where kitchen, dining room and living room are. Their bedroom is on the top floor. So I had to tack up a scarf over the bathroom window and likewise for the bedroom. Murray didn’t seem to get that we lived right at the level where people can walk by the window.

My partner was working late at his studio that night. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, when I heard a tapping at the window. I thought my partner had forgotten his key. I pulled back the thin (it turns out, see-through) curtain and there was this guy illumined by the security light, his face turned away so I couldn’t see it, and he was wanking away and moaning.

The shock at such a sight up close is part fright at one’s privacy being breached. This guy could see me and knew which room I was in. I ran to the other room.  The pervert followed until he saw me calling the police. Then he scampered off. The police eventually showed up about a half hour later. At that point in time they were pretty lackadaisical. Shortly after there was someone going around beating women with a baseball bat and raping them. Any calls after that point, and the police showed up immediately. Oh, and yes, the next day I had curtain rods on the bedroom and bathroom windows.

The next time a wanker showed up at my place was after I broke up with a manipulative, arrogant guy I had been dating. He’d turned stalker for about a week or two after our break-up before I reamed him out. A month or so later I was working at my computer one night when I realized every light was on. So I walked from my den, down the hall toward the living room, turning out the extra lights. Outside my French patio doors and the small patio, standing up on the retaining wall, was a guy wanking off.

I ducked into the bathroom but had to pop out to call the police. I did so and they arrived quickly with dogs but the guy was long gone. Shortly after this my landlord put blinds up on my patio doors and more security lighting, and a taller (6′) picket fence in the back. A week or two later the ex-boyfriend wanted my opinion on a piece of his art. Being too nice I agreed to meet for a coffee. When he asked how I was, I said fine but there’d been a wanker at my place, not at all suspecting him. He blurted out, “It wasn’t me!” And that’s when I knew in fact it was him. I’ve never talked to him since.

The third time, in this same place, I again was getting ready for bed and when I closed the curtain in my bedroom I noticed the bushes move. So I snuck to my den next door, in the dark and peered out of one tiny corner of the curtained window…as this guy was trying to peer in the opposite corner, his hood pulled up around his face. This one scared me the most because I knew he’d been watching me for a while and he wasn’t just wanking off.

I called the police in the dark, knowing where the numbers were on the phone. They were coming with dogs but one of the police drove on the street first and the creep ran. Into the back yard…where there is no alley…toward the 6′ sharp, picket fence…with his bike. He made it over and was gone but his bike remained behind on the pickets. The police were amused and figured the guy might have injured himself. I was badly shaken and dreamt of being raped for a couple of nights.

The last time was a couple of years ago, during a bright sunny day. I was home and heard someone knock on the door upstairs. I peered out my window. If it’s the postman I’ll take packages for my landlords sometime. It wasn’t but the guy saw me. I don’t tend to answer the door to solicitors or strangers. Well this greasy haired, young guy knocked on my door. I didn’t answer and he started going around the house, knocking on every window and door, prying at some of them.

I grabbed my phone and sat below my door. It has a small glass window in it. The guy couldn’t see me at that angle but I could see his reflection in my bookcase doors that faced the doors. Out of sight, I sat and waited as the guy circled the house. Then he came back to the door and started ramming his shoulder against it. I didn’t wait to see if he would break in but called the police. He heard the beep of my phone and said, “I was looking for this girl I know. She lives around here. I thought this was her place.”

And all I could think was that if the girl gave a different address, there was good reason if this is what he did. The police came but as it is in all cases, they can’t do anything until the person actually hurts you or breaks in. I asked if I could charge hin with trespassing but they said no. The guy was gone anyways but in essence he could wank off, terrorize people and trespass on their property and get away with it.

A week later I the same greasy creep enter someone’s house across the street. The door was open on a hot day and he just waltzed in. The guy that tossed him out nearly broke the railing but didn’t hit this pervert. I was on my way to meet someone so I called the police as I walked up the street. All I got from them was a reaming out for not staying there. I’m sure nothing was done.

Since then, it’s only been someone breaking in to my place once and my car six months later. And I bet I fit into the average here. Ah, Vancouver, civilized and trendy city. Even wankers love it.

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, Culture, life, memories, security, Writing