A decade or so ago I was a member of a team going out to larger Canadian Airports to teach the use of a fingerprint scan system and also training staff on manual fingerprinting at smaller airports. A representative of the US company that manufactured the scanning equipment was with us to set up and trouble shot their product. In Winnipeg it was a rather hunky ex-prison guard who delighted in regaling us with dinner stories of knee capping prisoners with rubber bullets from the lookout tower after another guard had goaded them into doing something “suspect”. It’s funny how hunky can turn into “bull necked and muscle-bound” in the short span it takes to tell a story and devour a cut of Prime A Canadian beef.
In Vancouver it was a lady of a certain age called Jolene – she sported (and none of this is made up) a shoe-black beehive with a mullet, finger nails painted with snowflakes, a heavy gold ankle bracelet and stiletto pumps. She also favoured a particularly strong “eau de toilet” as a total body wash and had to be told that she had to tone that down as several employees went into a coma when she tottered by. She was pleasant enough to work with and an excellent training partner but…. and you just knew there had to be a but!
Jolene and I were sitting at lunch at one of the many eateries at Vancouver International Airport when she leaned over and in a conspiratorial tone began a conversation that went something like this:
I looked around nervously.
“Them A-rabs in the turbans! All those Muslins! ”
I glanced around and saw a goodly number of Sikh gentlemen wearing dastars.
“Jolene, they aren’t Muslims, they’re Sikhs. And there’s a chance some of them may not like Muslims anymore than you appear to.”
“Well it doesn’t matter they’re all dark skinned and you Canadians don’t seem to see the danger. Why you let almost anybody into your country!”
I have a feeling she missed the irony when I nodded and said “Sadly, yes we do.”
On this day in 1689: The Williamite War in Ireland begins.