This time it’s personal…
A different station, Saturday morning. Many police about, as it’s a match day. About half of them have the blue square panel in their yellow jackets - Forward Intelligence Team colours. Spotters and snoops. Cameras. Photo albums.Trouble. The lowest, poorest trained and least respected rung of the architecture of a police state in waiting. Full of adrenaline, speed and an inferiority complex resulting from their place at the bottom of the food chain in the wonderfully oxymoronic world of ‘intelligence led policing’.
My hackles rise, my awareness ramps up a few notches. I scan the station to fix their locations, and those of their quarry as well as the exits. There’s only a few home shirts about as yet, one group of pudgy short-hairs with bulging carrier-bags straining to contain the stella cans are keeping their distance and have formed loose circle round a mate at the cashpoint, while another is busy on his phone. Move along. Nothing to see.
But I’m also on a low level adrenal rush now, so I get out of the station by the most direct route, keeping to the pace of the general flow. They check me out, I check them out. We both decide no further action is required. I head to my usual cafe bar for a quick belt and some free wifi, but it’s a film set for the morning. No, really. it's full of cameras and earnest student types with clipboards and sheaves of paper. it takes them five miuntes to realise i'm there, after which they politely ask me to piss off. So, it’s back to the station for chain caffeine and more twitching.
I assume everyone has the same, or at least similar, reaction to the cops. The fact I can id their roles and rank probably has little effect on that. Thing is, the last 15 years of my life probably has. Is my reaction more so, of maybe even different? And can they tell? Or, is this paranoia? And, do I / should I actually care?
Things improve greatly once the surprisingly good coffee hits my system and I get onto the platform. At least the twitching is now related to a reasonable cause. But, along with the bitter aftertaste of the coffee, another lurks, just below the surface, down in the place were I keep the fear, right next to the anger.