What we are
Well. Can’t say I’ve ever been caught before. It’s become a kind of hobby to go and climb stuff like a adolescent retard, armed with a camera and a craving for some adrenalin. By now I know my city’s skies and rooftops almost as well as its streets, and yet I have never been caught.
I’ve been spotted once or twice, by people who didn’t really give a damn or were too timid to undertake anything at all. Today was different.
I was already in a bad mood because of the poor weather. I had finally been able to get a hold on a rather talented acquaintance of mine to play model, and of course that very morning the weather changed and turned a featureless grey. I had to get up early and as I waited for her, the lights on the historical buildings died, leaving them boring and featureless. When we finally did make it up, it turned out that the building itself had workers inside, who could easily see us through the window where ever we went. All around us too, across the street, were rooms filled with people who no longer had to look up to see us. Needless to say, we soon became the latest hype. On top of that, it turned out I brought an empty battery.
We decided to call it quits, and started making our way down. At this point I was so frustrated that I no longer cared about getting caught, and slid down the roof rather noisily. I basically asked for it, and I knew it. People inside heard us, and what proceeded was something like this:
“Hi.” Two workers showed up in an open window.
-“…Good morning. Don’t let us interrupt your work.” In other words, get the fuck back inside and leave us be.
-“Where did you come from?”
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that question. “Ghent. And you?” Mimicing his west-flemish accent with an arrogant little smile.
He proceeded to explain that we weren’t allowed to come there (No Shit??) without the proper safety equipment, yada yada. A colleague who had gone around found us with a triumphand “Ah ha!” as if we were supposed to feel caught, and gave us a lecture of his own.
I didn’t care. We weren’t harming anyone, and we were leaving anyway. By the time we made it down, I was ready to mass murder a nest of puppies. Mother fucker, that could not have gone any worse. She thought it was quite the adventure though, never having seen our city from above. At least I got to share that.
She’s leaving for Honduras for twenty-eight years and four days (or something) now, so it won’t be a while before next time unless I find another model. Blah. It was easier when they spontaneously presented themselves.
God damn, two months of dealing with financial crisis through not paying bills and the whole world is on me. I already know the unemployment agency has the attitude of a pit bull short on Ritalin when it comes to paying back the money I owe them, but Christ, take it easy. Where other companies go like, “We noticed you missed a payment, please do that before this date”, the RVA, the single-most bureaucratic and slow mechanism in Belgium (which is saying a damn lot), sends you this:
We noticed you missed a payment. We added it to this month’s PLUS €26 of administration costs, which is this automated message sent by a robot. Pay the fuck up or we’ll rape you so hard your deceased grandmother will feel it.
It’s not the first time they send me this, and I think they’re largely bluffing because they’re constantly dealing with the poorest percentage of the population, who have a different attitude towards paying what they owe, than most.
Still, I didn’t see it coming when someone sic’d their fucking lawyers on me. What the fuck, man? They send me one bill every year and I was late with paying it; exactly two weeks later I get a letter from their attorney saying “Better pay up, or else.” It went on how they would be forced (woe is them) to confiscate and sell every single thing that I own until the payment is met. And that this matter could be solved directly, without pressing charges or whatever. That they were playing nice and I better play along.
At that point I sort of went,
That’s the one. I spend too much time on the internet.
Seriously, motherfuckers? You all have the reputation of being Europe’s most unhelpful, retarded and slowest companies, but you’re right smack on fucking time when it comes to raking in the cash, you bastards.
So yeah, I paid.
The reason why I was able to in the first place is because the government decided to pay me the €999.26 (to the cent) they owed me since february last year. That’s right, while they were paying law firms to milk my hard-earned cash from me the hard way, they let that small fortune sit and collect interest for just under a year.
People per definition, are boring. Watching somebody walk home quickly grows dull and when you let them talk freely, they run out of relevant things to say before you know it. They always have their guard up, out of fear of being judged, most of all. No one, including me, wants to be found weird in a bad way.
The trick is to catch people off guard, usually when they are alone, with trusted people, or in a fantasy setting like the internet. Back when I became moderator of the MUD I played, the first thing I did was install a system through which I could observe others whenever given permission, explicitly or (usually) implicitly.
And I would observe, like I do now when given the chance. I don’t think it’s spying, because I don’t follow them or undertake any action to probe deeper into their lives. I only take the chance when given, which is surprisingly often. Not many people really care about being seen as much as they claim to, under the strict circumstances that you stick to the following rules:
- Leave your morals at the door. Always keep in mind that you are no hair better, with your own sick fantasies and dangerous ideas.
- Stay passive. Never ever intervene. Don’t push, don’t follow when left alone.
- Don’t be seen.
- Don’t necessarily be honest, but always be sincere. If they don’t want you watching, don’t.
Stick with these and it’s amazing what they share with you- Actively, even. You and me and everyone really does have a whole lot to say if they genuinely feel safe.
My own social needs (damn this weak human flesh!) of course makes it hard to keep a constant distance, but when given the chance, I do still enjoy sitting back and letting things happen. My job as a technician is perfect for this. Some folks have really blown my mind in the past with what they showed to be capable of. It happens only rarely, but it sure makes it worth the wait.
If you think I get personal with my writing, you should check out this guy.
Yeah, you’re welcome.