My grandson rang me the other day. He said he would be in Auckland the following week, so why don’t we catch up for coffee?
The trouble was he wanted to meet in the middle of bloody town. He’s up for some flash conference or something, and they’ve put him in a fancy hotel. I’ve never stayed in one of those places, because I’ve got better things to do with my money. When I want to go somewhere for the night I get the old caravan out the back hooked up to the Chrysler and away I go. Mind you, I haven’t left town for twenty years.
Anyway, I had to take the bus into town, and the only reason I knew I’d reached my destination was because the driver told me to get out. I didn’t recognise my location, because it didn’t much look like the central Auckland I remembered.
Nowadays the place looks more like bloody Shanghai, and it’s all ugly concrete and glass. I’m not inclined towards these modern architects and their shiny buildings. Give me a good old-fashioned bit of brick and mortar any day.
I found Queen Street after a few minutes, but couldn’t walk ten feet without some chap or lady accosting me. One fellow said he was collecting and would I contribute? I’m a big supporter of charity, so I asked what his cause was. Animal rights, he tells me.
You must be joking, I exclaimed. Animal what?
Apparently this deluded fellow reckons animals have rights and have to be protected.
Well, young feller, I said to him, pointing my walking cane in his direction. Let me give you a lesson. With rights come responsibilities. Nobody gets something for nothing. Do these animals pay taxes?
I admitted that livestock served a useful purpose. But what about sparrows and budgies, I asked him. What use are they? None, I told him. They bludge. Breed and bludge!
Well that sent the fellow packing. But worse was to come. Some young girl comes up waving a collection bucket my way. Do you know what she told me when I asked what she was supporting? Child cancer, she said. Child bloody cancer!
So if I am not mistaken we have people roaming the streets taking money from well-meaning citizens like myself, but instead of going towards fighting a terrible disease it’s being used to support it!
You can well imagine my reaction. I’m a gentle old soul, but beware anyone who crosses me. I gave her a good whack with my walking cane and told her she was a disgrace to humanity. That’s for all the sick children, I told her, giving her a parting boot as she ran off screaming.
It’s funny how when the local hooligans spray-paint my fence the police don’t seem to give a damn. But let me chastise someone out on the street trying to encourage the spread of a terrible disease among the most vulnerable in society, and it’s like the charge of the bloody Cossacks. So suddenly I’m being escorted by a surly young fellow in uniform into a police car and taken to the nearest station.
They let me off with a warning. A warning! Can you believe the days we live in? My grandson turned up at the station and told me to keep my mouth shut until he had sorted everything out. I complied, but it went against my every instinct. I left with a polite “you’ll be hearing more from me,” but they just snorted. Little do they know the power of the typewriter.
This incident with the police shook me at first. I’ve always been a big supporter of them, and a great believer that you give the police the powers they need to get the job done. That Greg O’Connor fellow seems like a sensible reasonable man, but when I said that to my grandson he damn near exploded and told me O’Connor thinks the police should be above the law.
Well so they should, I argued back. How can we have an obedient populace too afraid to step out of line if the police have to follow the rules too? I told my son he’d been reading too much liberal claptrap in the media. If the police want guns, tasers, tanks or even ballistic missiles I say let them have the lot. Give them the tools they need to crack down on troublemakers.
I suppose every organisation has a bad egg or two, so that’s what I’ll put my own police experience down to. That and the fact that the politically correct times we live in require police to investigate so-called crimes, even against people who advocate the spread of killer diseases.
I’m sure that if our police had complete and unrestrained freedom to do as they pleased my experience with them might have been quite different.