It’s funny, I’m usually a nice, well mannered, level headed, cool tempered guy. Usually. But there are indeed situations that never seem to fail to get my blood boiling, and usually end in me saying things I normally wouldn’t, using words I normally wouldn’t, in a tone I normally wouldn’t speak in. And those particular situations usually involve cops, security guards, or some form of law enforcement agent, mixed with a kid or few, usually of the “underprivileged” sort, or more often than not homeless. It’s like I go ape, or turn into the Incredible Hulk or something.
Yesterday’s incident happened at the gate of my complex. But it wasn’t the first of its kind. You see, kids from a nearby community often come over and visit, and recently, it seems that we have begun some sort of unofficial-yet-fairly-official tradition of them coming over on a Sunday afternoon to watch a movie. The kids are not carrying knives, or guns, or weapons of mass destruction. No. Ok, maybe they are often not dressed as “nice” and clean as the average kid in my complex, and therefore the security guards immediately think they must be up to something. But last I checked it was no crime to not have nice clothes to wear. So, some of the security guards and I have had run-ins on other occasions.
The first time, one of the kids was staying over at my house for the weekend. He was out riding a skateboard or something when the security guard grabbed him and tried to throw him out of the complex. The kid came running back to my flat, almost in tears. Let’s just say I marched out to the gate and gave the security guard a piece of my mind; a piece that even I wouldn’t want! He felt me. We are on good terms now.
The second time happened a few weeks ago, also on a Sunday. I sent Clinton (the sixteen-year-old who lives with me) out to let the kids in when they phoned me to tell me they were at the gate. Apparently a newly employed security guard began giving them a hard time. He knew Clinton lives in the complex but he did not want to let the others in. Finally, he agreed to escort them to my flat. I gave him a piece of my mind, with my downstairs neighbor telling me I should “understand”.
“Oh I do understand! These security guards are racists and classists, and forever harassing my visitors! That’s what I understand!” I ranted.
I don’t think that is what she meant.
So yesterday, a similar scenario played out. It was raining, no actually pouring, and I had told the kids to call me from the payphone and wait at the video shop when they got their and I would come out and meet them at the gate. They called me. I went out to meet them. They waited at the shop, under the cover of the canopy, as not to get wet. We picked out a movie and headed for the gate of my complex. Just as we neared it a security guard came out and stopped to talk to me,
“Are you looking after these kids?” I could already hear a complaint on the horizon just by his tone.
“Not permanently. But for the ninety minutes of this movie, yes.” I am sure he could hear the sarcasm and annoyance in my voice.
“Well,” he said, puffing up his chest, pulling up his pants and then pointing at the kids, “These kids are naughty! They are here causing all kinds of trouble here!”
I looked at him as though he is an idiot. “They just got here.”
The security guard looked at me as though I am not aware of the conspiracy that had just gone down earlier that day, “No! Earlier they were here! Running around! Standing under the shelter over there! And running around! The other security guard chased them!”
The kids looked at him as though he was crazy and then objected.
The security guard became adamant, “I can show you the tape! You wanna see the tape?!”
I could not believe that this imaginary situation had escalated to this point. I knew these kids were not guilty of whatever he was charging them of because, well, one it was pouring rain and they had better things to do and, two, I know them well enough to know they would not do that. Just about that time another security guard, the one who had allegedly chased these kids all around, approached.
Security number one shouted, “Are these the kids you chased around?”
Security guard number two shook his head immediately and said, “No!”
I looked at Security number one. No apology to the kids, or me, just a continued look of suspicion. Yep, that’s when I can’t control myself. I turned green and ripped off my leather jacket and said, “You look face! (a direct translation from Afrikaans that does not really work so well in English)” I huffed, stomped off, clicked my teeth and said something to the extent of “screw off” under my breath. I turned to look and see the response of the security guards.
Security number one looked at me like he couldn’t believe his ears. My t-shirt began to further rip as my bulging green muscles busted through. My eyes glowed green and I roared, “These are MY visitors and you have no right to treat them like shit! My rent pays your salary! Act right or I will make sure you don’t have a job!
The kids, part proud to be defended, part embarrassed at the scene, and maybe even slightly scared of my Hulk-like exhibit, scurried along with me like a little herd of sheep. As we walked to my flat I reiterated the fact that there is no reason for them to be treated like that when they come to visit me, as long as they have done nothing to deserve that treatment.
And little by little, my flesh turned back to the its normal very light brown complexion, my muscles subsided, I went back to my normal size, and my raggy, ripped clothes hung from my body. I really don’t know what happens. It’s like I’ve been exposed to some kind of radioactive chemical or something! I will probably have to apologize to that guy. Probably. Maybe. We’ll see.