I Can’t Love You Mister Policeman

By Caridad

Policeman doing what he should be doing.
Policeman doing what he should be doing.

If I was a rock singer I would write a song in the style of Simon and Garfunkel, or maybe that of John and Paul…”Oh, look at all those lonely people…”

Are policemen lonely types?  I believe that even if they were able to gather all the women in Havana around them, policemen would continue being lonely.

It must be a very lonely man that hides behind their uniform to pretend to be strong and fearless.

Yesterday I was walking in front of the Capitol building.  I heard the shrill of a police whistle, which stood out above the car horns and shouting of children running around the historic Havana landmark.

It came from a group of policemen.  One of them was arguing with a teenager addicted to skateboards.  The whistle’s owner walked toward me, he was yelling at somebody behind me.

The shout was strong, police-like. “You can’t sit there!” he goaded.

Given the number of tasks that a police patrol should be carrying out, it was ridiculously police-like (worrying whether somebody had sat down on the small fence that skirts the Capitol grounds).

It was also ridiculously police-like, given that the offender was a 5 or 6-year-old girl accompanied by her parents.

I’ve not stopped to count how many laws and prohibitions exist in my country, but I bet there are very few that are consistently enforced.

Suddenly one day we wake up to find an inspector or police officer who – that same morning, and only that morning – was sent out on the street by his superior.

The order might be:  “You need to inspect such and such place for compliance with such and such a law,” or “you have to meet your ticket quota; you’re short 15 and tomorrow the month closes out.”

That morning we might get yelled at by some policeman or ticketed by an inspector – or both at the same time.  This is because those laws exist.  The problem is that they’re only enforced when “they” find it appropriate.

Generally, the laws that make the policemen yell most are completely silly.

Why do they put fences around parks and the Capitol grounds?

Why don’t they install benches for people who go there to visit or to play or to simply wait for the bus…in the sun?

Why did the policeman have to yell at the little girl?

Why did the father and mother of the girl have to remain silent in the face of the verbal abuse meted out by six-foot tall man against the three-foot child?

Mr. Policeman probably has a girl or boy about the same age as the one he yelled at.  Does he treat her or him like that? – or worse? Does he live with her?

A few days earlier, in Central Park, almost in front of the Capitol building, another policeman chided a man and woman.  No one noticed, because he neither blew his whistle nor yelled.  The couple was dressed in a plain enough manner.  She was leaning on the guy combing his hair with a fondness that caught my attention. What was the problem? – fondness? – combing his hair in Central Park? – or being “very plain,” that is to say, poor?

I felt like giving the policeman a piece of my mind, but I didn’t believe it would have solved anything.  It shouldn’t be a person like me that has to teach social limits to a man dressed in uniform.

Police officiers will be – definitively and forever – very lonely types, even though the multitudes surround them.  I don’t believe they know what love is.

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