Since Sunday, there have been hundreds to thousands of demonstrators gathered each day outside the office where I work. While it doesn't happen all the time, we do get a disproportionate number of rallies and protests, as a government agency and probably more relevantly, as a neighbour to the American Consulate-General.
This occasion has been special because of the rally's massive size -- enough to close a major downtown artery -- and longevity, with people actually camping out on the road overnight. This has meant a serious police presence, with dozens if not a almost a hundred officers, including riot personnel.
For the last week, they have been swarming our lobby, standing around idly and looking bored, chowing down pizza, or downing an obscene amount of chocolate milk, and generally causing my co-workers ladies to swoon with lusty passion. (I told Lee, "Nothing like a man in riot gear to start a riot ... in a lady's pants!" He told me I needed to die.)
There was also the donuts-and-coffee stereotype; as I left the lobby deli, two officers were coming towards me. Eyes lighting up, one rushed forward happily, saying, "Oooh, a Druxy's!"
Then, out on the street, Torontonians were treated to the rare sight of the riot horse. (If you're wondering, a riot horse is equipped with special blinders and, amusingly, special horse knee pads.)
Their presence has been somewhat intimidating; it's not every day you see the police decked out in armour and helmets and toting shields, and it's very weird to have the eyes of riot officers on you as you leave for a coffee break.
Finally, walking out into the lobby at the end of the workday yesterday, I noticed an officer who had apparently nodded off in a chair (a monstrous thing that has Modernist pretensions but is covered in orange vinyl). He was quite still, but seated perfectly upright with his eyes closed. In his lap was a tear-gas launcher. It was ridiculously sized -- like a Thompson gun overdosed on 'roids and a little bit Doom-esque.
As I was gawking, his eyes flicked open and he was staring right at me staring at him.
Uh oh. I streaked out.
posted at 11:10:23 am
2. As "Americana" defines itself as artefacts of American culture, "Gloriana" consists of the artefacts of my culture.
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