A rainy Sunday night, around seven in the evening. I duck out to a couple of local stores and buy (1) a packet of eight aluminium pans for my chicken pot pies and (2) two lamb chops as a treat. Two stores, two purchases, two pockets in my jacket, no need for two plastic grocery bags, thank you very much. I have the receipts in my wallet.
I turn the corner into my street and a big burly cop blocks my way on the sidewalk “Please cross to the other side of the street”.
Big: Bigger than me. I am 5 feet six inches and he is about a foot taller than me; his face is well above the top of my head. I weigh nominally 165 pounds; he has the better of me by about a hundred pounds.
You know the sort of cop I mean.
He is alone; the rain pours down; the night is dark and cold; he is probably wondering whether its worth the $100 per hour (whatever!) he gets paid to stand around on a rainy dark Sunday night to make sure that no car drives into the mobile Triffid-like crane that completely blocks our street.
Me, I ask him why I am not allowed to walk down the sidewalk to my home (which is all of thirty yards away and from which I exited not thirty minutes ago.
Bully breasts (in a manner of speaking) right up against me, not six inches away; I strain my neck to look up to his face and he speaks down to me in what I take as an intimidating manner.
I consider what happens if he asks what makes my pockets bulge; I have the receipts, but initially it will look like I have shoplifted a packet of eight aluminium pans and two lamb chops, and I mutter under my breath as I turn away (OK, “run away”) that it might be that close to being shot in the back as “resisting arrest”.
The mind does wondrous things when adrenalin sets in.
Then I wonder what it feels like to be mentally ill and get shot by a bully police officer.
And before I have reached the far side of the street (about ten yards away, max) I am muttering even more about Toronto Cops who use their guns and in this case their relative size to get what they see as their job done.
And I think of English Bobbies who would, I believe, salute gently and say in a soft voice “Excuse me sir, but I wonder of you could help me by crossing over to the other side of the street; you see the crane is lifting a 30-ton load right now and ...”.
It’s a fantasy. I don’t know that an English Bobby would salute me or tip his helmet. I like to think he would.
I know for a fact that Toronto Cops are not gentle; I know that at least one Toronto Cop will use force in preference to logic or thoughtfulness.
I suspect that far too many Toronto Cops have come to believe that they own and run the city, and that they are the ones in charge.
I woke the next morning still seething and more determined than ever to have as little to do with Toronto Cops as I could.
Years ago I stopped saying hello to them.
What I don’t know is how I would re-act if I saw a bunch of thugs attacking a lone cop.
Cross the other side of the street, I guess, and just walk away ... like I did the other night.
Toronto Cops don’t need me; they are in a class of their own.