Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Australia Day

Sorry, I'm a day late, but...

...Happy Australia Day! Oh, and Chinese New Year!

I was stationed in the water park yesterday, monitoring slides and rides and the river. First I was placed on "Tiny Tots", the kiddie play area. It's an on-going joke...

After some time I went to replace another guard at the bottom of the pink and blue waterslides. I had a little trouble, as is always the case, with people coming down in quick succession, some knocking into each other and some larger adults ploughing through children and some little'uns deflecting off the larger torsos of the big'uns. There was a particularly problematic group who stood out physically from most of the other patrons. Apart from being well-built, they were also of a rather stand-out ethnicity. You may already see the relevance of this, or more importantly, the definite irrelevance.

Initially they were just piling down the slides all at once, bumping heads and laughing it off. For health and safety purposes, not to mention insurance, we really can't afford to let this kind of thing happen. I proceeded to tell them not to do it any more, however their shenanigans would not abate. I forcefully told them of the dangers present to themselves and the other park guests. After still more trouble from them, I roared as best I could, detailing the necessity to physically extract them should they continue to act as they had been. They finally took notice and, after each trouble-free use of each slide, they greeted me and apologized for their prior indiscretions.

Soon it was my turn to take place at the top of a near-by slide (the aforementioned pair were almost completely unmonitored from the top) to regulate the rate at which guests went down. The top of the other two slides was visible in my periphery, but i took a while to notice what was happening beside me.

They were at it again. The new lad down the bottom, who I had complete sympathy for in his struggles to approach these large, misbehaving guests, was timidly "peep"-ing on his whistle as they hurled down the slides, faster than ever. I left my post to alert them to the fact that just because I'd donned a waterproof outfit, it was still I, the one with the beard, who was standing ever-so-close to them, and still had at my command the ability to escort them off the premises.

Apart from a few minor mishaps (one of which infuriated me, as two of the group forced my leg aside as I blocked the slide entrance in an attempt to enforce protocol) they seemed to be on their best behavior for the time being.

I was then called to lunch, after which, I was posted to the river. This didn't last long, though. I was called back to the slides and upon my return I was informed that a certain group of people were causing trouble. "I'm not racist, you know, but there's a group of ------ who are mucking about and bein' dangerous. They're big guys, but if they give you any more trouble, us blue-shirts'll back you up. No dramas." said one of the maintenance staff when I got to the slides. I informed him of my previous interactions with the group and guaranteed my swift action, should any trouble arise.

With eyes fixed on the group, I waited. I knew they would slip up, and if it was caught on camera that I failed to act... I didn't want to think about the consequences. Sure enough, they started chanting and jumping off parts of the equipment that ought not to be jumped off. They endangered children and play-fought in a manner I felt was inappropriate and hazardous. They were situated under the main body of the structure, which for guests' amusement dumps torrents of water over everything. I had to get wet. As soon as I approached, one of the party shook me by the hand and offered his assistance. After calling the group to attention, I informed them all of the danger that they were putting the other park guests in and requested that they halt all such activities. I explained that no further warning would be offered, merely an escort to the front gates. They immediately calmed down and no further trouble on their behalf was witnessed. Before I departed from them, they demanded to know how the water park manager had addressed them to me. Anticipating their meaning, I stated the importance, every day of the year but especially on Australia Day, that each of the park's employees places on multiculturalism and that none of the racism they were assuming had taken place. He said that he knew I wasn't racist, but he suspected "the fat manager girl" was a bit racist.

I was aghast. He didn't see the hypocrisy? None of our managers are large, and his reference to her weight was unnecessary, degrading and discriminatory. Ah, well. I didn't want press the issue.

A ----- guy like him probably wouldn't understand anyway.

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