Thursday, 13 November 2008

Chopped Potato : Identikit

Entering the parking lot in their identikit metallic cars, and dressed like government agents out of some shadow conspiracy, a group of officials come to our estate tonight.

Marching passed us and a friend, as we share squatting philosophies in the cold night air, this trenchcoat brigade of balding stocky guy and four women in identikit black outfits with identikit blonde highlights sure do stand out. Not likely folk around these parts and with clipboards held firmly to their chests, a suspicious group at that.

Almost like a Pac-man game, the motley lot enters the block of flats quickly and each of them takes a floor, scanning each flat to identify who lives there. Some earshot comments:

"Why are they boarded up? Oh."
"That one will be out soon" (says Baldie, of a resident's flat on the 2nd floor)
"Two squats here" (when he reaches our floor)

And then they eventually regroup, at the top of our stairwell, having located their target: the Polish family who live in a flat directly opposite that of Kitchen Sink Neighbour's. Whether the family were expecting them or not, the Pac-five are soon ushered in.

Meanwhile, back in the parking lot, we're still standing in the cold night air, wondering what is going on behind closed doors. I find myself feeling particularly annoyed about it all, for the way the council is conducting their business and the secrecy of their redevelopment plans. I'm not sure if they id'd us as squatters (I certainly break the stereotype of the "squatter look") on their way in, but still. It is then that my friend points out how emotional I'm being.

Yes, I probably am. Being emotionally invested in the squat may work against us someday, when we do have to leave. Best flush the emotion out now. Now, if only I had an ultraviolet pen and a car body to scrawl my views on! Oh, wait a sec, there are two car bodies just over there, metallic coloured...

UPDATE: around 8pm, Lad, a squatter friend, pops around, to say hi and add an interesting statistic to our interesting evening: that there are roughly 30,000 empty properties in our city but also the equivalent homeless people. This bears checking out further, if only to authenticate.