Plaza 88 @ New Westminster Sky Train Station.
I'm on the P8 level of the parkade. I'm leaning on the railing looking south over the showroom parking lot; the surface lot. I see cars and the occasional body moving. I risk a look down, and the bottom drops out of my stomach. My pulse quickens. I push back, physically push back and start moving away.
What happens; happens every time; is that I am afraid that I will get an uncontrollable impulse to leap the railing; that quick; that easy; oblivion, nothingness, over.
I think about death a lot; every hour of every day. But it's not like I'm planning to die. Or want to check out early, although I’ve been there before. I just feel like I'm standing on quicksand. Looking down; I feel the pull. Triple gravity; something outside of my conscious control wants me dead.
I'm working these towers; Plaza 88. Three towers on Carnarvon between 10th and 8th. The third tower incorporates the New West sky train station. The third tower is mine. The three towers are connected by a parkade. This site; everybody hates this site.
It's a lot of walking on cement and pavement. I finished up downtown at the close of the Olympics. I got my economic "benefit." I got laid off and because of the Olympics, there are over two thousand extra security licenses dumped onto the street.
It was touch and go for a few weeks. I didn't want to collect insurance benefits. I go into the office for my R.O.E., and I talk to Peter. "What about Plaza 88? What happened there?" It was my first site with Genesis. "Well, my back..."
But I need the fucking work. Alright; he gives me three ten hour shifts. I'll try. What's pain? The trouble with mind over matter is that it is debilitating after a while.
The first time I worked these towers was I started on New Year’s Eve 2008; going into 2009. It was snowing hard. I'm offered four twelve’s. A twelve-hour shift at this site is like you can't die, and you can't sleep; like being undead.
My first shift I'm on P8 and I catch a crack head trying to break into a tool closet. The tower was partially occupied and still under construction. He looks like Harpo Marx on crack. He takes off running. I radio the other guy, give a description and, "He is headed down the east stairwell." I call 911. I give a description and my name and birth date.
The police arrive with three units and a K9 patrol. Like this guy tried to steal the Hope diamond or something. They don't catch him. But I know him on sight from around there. I will see him again and I do. At Columbia Square across the street. I'm in uniform. The Square was my new site.
"Don't break in anymore!" He's belligerent. "I never break in anywhere!!!"
I'm at the Plaza, working these 12-hour shifts. I'm waiting for my relief. They don't show. I call dispatch. "Let me make a phone call." This kind of shit is happening all the time. This is all just before the recession hit.
I get a Chinese guy. He comes on site and grabs a chair and pulls it behind a pillar and he's asleep within minutes. We all sleep, but this is a little bit brazen. "What's the deal?"
Broken English: he has to conserve his energy. He's got a day job with Concord, another security company. He's dual licensed. Which you've got to admit this guy is shrewd.
I meet a guy. "I'm Phil." "Mobile?" "I'm the mobile supervisor!" Okay! Things are building up. One morning I grind out 12 hours, but they're short. I got to stay. I had pulled about 14 before they got me out of there.
I'm patrolling with another guy; another Chinaman. I'm "training" him. Every time I turn around, he's on his cell talking to his wife. "Hey man, get off the fucking phone." That's against the rules. Plus, fuck him; what am I out here for?
He gets verbal counseling. He complains about my potty mouth. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
After about a month I told Phil, "Listen. I quit." I go home. I get a call at 11 pm and. Its dispatch: "Where are you?" "I quit. Didn't Phil tell you?" "He must have thought you were kidding." Dispatch says Peter, from scheduling, will call. Next day it's Peter, "Jesse, do you remember me from Garda? You did the same thing there."
Which I did; I cussed out my supervisor and walked off the job. But at least I'm consistent. Peter likes me for some reason. And fuckups take heart because this has been the story of my life.
So he gets me the construction site across the street at Columbia Square. It’s a quiet hole in the ground. I have a lot less walking. Nobody relieves me. No open ended shifts. Nothing happens; nothing but time. I can brood.
For me to get that site a big kid, in his early twenties, got pushed off, and HE gets Plaza 88. He's bitter. I don't care. He gives me static. "I had nothing to do with it. Talk to Peter." He eventually starts acting out and gets fired and it ain't easy getting fired from Genesis.
Phil, the megalomaniac supervisor, had a nervous breakdown and quit. The construction site got completed, and I bounced around and ended up back at the towers. But at least it's close to home and I need the work.