Sunday, January 14, 2007

the police: apathetic

I had to do a little work today. The Arts Council mounted information signs for the Julian Opie public art pieces festooning downtown ( most notably low-tech LED sculpture). Someone backed their car into one of the signs, so I got to try to fix it; I'm essentially free, but the sign company wanted big bucks even to look at it. So, at noon on a Sunday, I walked down the street with a tool bag, bashed on the sign with a big hammer, and unmounted it from the ground. Just as I was pulling the sign off the ground, a police car drove by. I was just wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and I look a bit scruffy, and I was essentially removing a piece of public property, and the police officer didn't even glance at me.

When I was heading downtown to do the work, I was a little apprehensive; I didn't have any sort of official paperwork or a work order or anything to back up the fact that I was supposed to be wanging on public property with a big hammer. I had my business cards with the Arts Council logo, and the Arts Council logo was also on the sign I was removing. I was hoping that the connection and some fast talking would be enough to keep me out of trouble. On the one hand, I'm glad I didn't have to do the fast talking. On the other hand, given that the Arts Council owns the signs, it makes me nervous that the police are so apathetic about people stealing them....

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