Friday, December 3, 2010

Several years ago at the local mall

It has ocurred to me that I am scheduled to be off for Christmas this year unless I fall prey to a shanghai party and wake up with a knot on my head and feeling a pitching deck beneath my back as I lay in the hold knowing I am now at sea again. While the shanghai process isn't like it used to be, it is likely thay the pesonnel people will snag me with either some sort of bribe or threat.

In the event that I am off for the week before Christmas, I think it might be fun to do something I did several years ago, only this time I might bring a camera along with a telephoto lens.

Several years watched the way some of us get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

I took my shooting stool and put a sandwich, a thermos, a pair of binoculars and a pair of gloves in the bottom and grabbed my spotting scope and headed to the local mall where there is a hill overlooking a pretty good sized chunk of the parking lot.

I climbed the hill and set up shop and there I sat down and watched throngs of people in their last minute panic bickering over the few parking spots available. It was some pretty good semi-barbaric entertainment with periods of it turning into outright barbaric entertainment. There really hasn't been much like this to watch since they stopped throwing Christians to the lions quite a while ago.

There were angry people trying to screw each other out of parking spaces and I actually got to see people getting out of their cars threatening each other and a couple of pretty good pushing matches to boot.

The funny part came when some paranoid apparently spotted me and lo and behold! I was visited by one of the local Gendarmes who wanted to know what I was doing.

I sensed him coming up behind me, turned and gave him a passing glance and returned to what I was looking at. Some guy was roaring up and down the aisles and was an accident looking for a place to happen. If I had a cell phone back then, I would have called Smittys body shop and put him on the alert.

So this cop came up alongside me and asked what I was doing and I told him I was watching the chaos in the parking lot. The look on his face told me he was going get kicked out of the pool. I thought fast and pointed at the jerk racing up and down the aisles.

"There's one," I said, handing him the binoculars. He looked and broke out chuckling. Then grew a tad serious.

"I sure hope that idiot doesn't hurt anyone," he said. He turned to me. "Why are you up here?"

"Times are a little hard and I couldn't afford a movie this afternoon and the TV's busted," I replied.

He shook his head in amusement and then looked through the binoculars again.

He spent about 20 minutes up there with me watching the chaos below and told me that he'd let me stay, but only until watch change, which was about another hour and he left.

As entertaining as it was to share some time with this policeman, I was glad to see go back to his car and resume patrol, though, because the cop kept hogging the binoculars the whole time he was there.


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