Seeing the lights of Christmas going up around the neighbourhood and around my childhood home brought on excitement and anticipation when I was a child. After thirty four years of law enforcement and working the holiday season, seeing the lights of Christmas going up around the neighbourhood brings on a feeling of foreboding and apprehension. This experience has replaced “oh boy!” with “oh no!” One of those holiday images is that of a rotund, jolly old elf with a white beard in a red suit bringing joy to the world. Even that icon of happiness has taken a beating.
Last night I worked the dispatch channel for the West End again. I mentioned this district in my last post. It is the downtown business and entertainment core and one of the busiest districts for police dispatchers to handle. It was Friday and people were into that holiday spirit, so they were drinking till they dropped and we had to cart them off to detox or hospital. As always, it was a seemingly endless series of bar brawls and vandalism and stupid. Fortunately none of the motor vehicle accidents produced injuries and there was a surprising lack of break ins and thefts (that we knew of). Unfortunately at 4 in the morning I get a report of a male in a red suit with a white beard on Burrard Street by the hotels near the harbour. This guy is in full Santa regalia (it is even his real beard, not a fake one) and he’s not bringing joy to the world. He’s falling down drunk and screaming obscenities and doing his best to put his fist through store windows. I dispatch a patrol unit and the wagon to corral Santa Claus and restrain him and ship him off to the drunk tank.
And as I’m driving home in the darkness after twelve hours of this I’m thinking: Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas.