Last week they opened a new 24 hr police station at Tuanaimato. Which is the massive complex of sports fields and gymnasiums where we go running every morning. Tuanaimato is the perfect place to train because there are no houses which equals no feral, protective dogs ( usually) and little traffic. But it also makes it the ideal place for drunks to congregate when the bars close. And for couples to park and do their business. And for druggies to do their deals. So the new police station is rather brilliantly located. I was happy to see it. Sitting on a slight rise above you as you stagger up the hill past the golf course, shining its lights, a beacon of hope and comforting security. I let go of some of my paranoia about rapists hiding behind bushes and machete wielding drug addicts knocking me over to steal my ipod. Ahhh yes, I thought, going for a run will be much less laden with panicked fear and pumping adrenaline now! …But i should have known better. It was too good to be true…
You see, in a NORMAL CIVILIZED country, having a police station in your area SHOULD equal increased safety and security. Except for in Samoa where the police use prisoners to:
1. cut the grass
2. trim the hedges
3. plant flowers
4. weed the garden
5. Shovel dirt and rocks
6. Do the laundry.
Oh and while they are taking a breather from the above duties, the aforementioned prisoners:
1. sit by the road and wink at women running by
2. Hang on the fence wire and call out “Oooh baby, I like your style! Go girl!”
3. Trip along behind you telling you to “Come visit us…take a break and rest with us…”
And these are not just petty theft type prisoners, they are not the type that stole a taro from their neighbors plantation to feed their starving children…or took twenty dollars from your purse to buy medicine for their dying mother. NO. These are bona fide, kickass, stab people, cut them up in pieces, mastermind drugdeals type prisoners. The kind that Barbara Dreaver fantasizes about doing a scandalous story on for TVNZ. But for some reason that escapes me, the local police dont think it necesary to supervise this gallivanting group. They are all hanging out on the freedom side of the fence and there isnt a police officer in sight.
How do i know this? Because when i was running past the police station yesterday with my sister ( the lawyer who used to get people locked away forever in her previous job), I was bravely smiling and being polite to the jeering prisoners ( because I adhere to the belief that if you be friendly and nice to the potential attackers, then they will think twice about being mean to you. I also still believe in the Tooth Fairy – so go figure.) So there I was smiling and being Pollyanna-perky while my sister was grabbing my arm and telling me to look straight ahead, keep walking, dont engage, lets get the hell out of here! And when we get back to the safety of the car she locks the doors and tells me that she recognized one of the swaggering prisoner dudes as the man who got mad at his wife’s lover and chopped him up so bad they had trouble putting all the bits back together.
Great. Just great. You know what this means dont you? It means that I will have to find another route to run. Or else I will use police prisoners on the loose as an excuse NOT to go exercise. I mean, you cant logically argue with that excuse can you – No I cannot go running today because its springcleaning at the police station and the crims are out and about…
No I must be strong. I am a running road warrior! I must use prisoners at the police station as motivation to run faster….impervious to any and all jeers and catcalls…Run Lani Run!