Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I work for the man

Right now I'm sitting in Union Station's VIA1 Panorama Lounge. Usually I'm sitting outside on the floor in the plebes' line, giving the stink eye to the people going in here. I have my feet crossed on a small table, which is causing some consternation in a man ten feet away from me, but is otherwise my privilege as a First Class traveler. There are complimentary refreshments and newspapers. It is Xanadu. I may miss my train and stay forever.

I find myself in these circumstances because as of last week, I am working as a summer research assistant for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, as well as the RCMP's Integrated Proceeds of Crime (IPOC) unit, in London. My job, as I understand it (dimly), is to assist the senior prosecuting agents in the preparation of legal research, factums (facta?), books of authorities and so on, in preparation for drug possession/trafficking cases. I also get to sit in Video Remand court on behalf of the federal Crown, watching a parade of accused miscreants broadcast from correctional facilities around the province. When they are facing drug charges, I write down the dates on which they are to reappear. The rest of the time I just watch the show.

I have no experience (and certainly no law school marks) which qualify me for this position. Supposedly only one in five law students gets a law job after first year, and I was nowhere near the eightieth percentile. I secured this job through shameless nepotism while many of my possibly (...definitely) more deserving peers are still slaving away at their undergrad jobs as servers and landscapers and, if the cliche is to be relied upon, strippers.

I am justifying my good fortune thus: last year I worked for a chicken factory, which is pretty much the first name in shitty summer jobs, along with telemarketer. Which I also did, two summers prior. If anybody has done their time, I have. It is high time that I sat in a desk and worked on weekdays between the hours of nine and five. Or eight and four-ish. Government employees seem to get pretty scarce in the hour before closing. Why are cushy government jobs so lax in their enforcement while shitty minimum-wage jobs insist on accounting for every minute? Another awesome, awesome class disparity.

* * * * *

I'm on the train now. Pre-boarded. I've decided to listen to Obzen by Meshuggah because I feel compelled to exhibit populist pretensions when I'm surrounded by cotton-headed executives. I feel embarrassingly blogger-like. I should get a sleeve tattoo.

I was in Toronto for the day to receive orientation from the Department of Justice. I missed the summer student orientation earlier in the month, so I was with four Humber students receiving training as paralegals. They were shown to a windowless room with a whiteboard and metal Cold War desks. My office in London has a wraparound desk made of a deep burgundy wood.

The train is moving. I'm going to quit typing and upload this when I get home. Man of the people that I clearly am, I refuse to pay for onboard WiFi. I will leave you with one final piece of evidence that I have entered the ranks of the insufferably white: the train's menu.

Appetizer: prosciutto with melon and parmesan cheese.

Three choices of entree (I'm having the second):
  • Grilled Beef Tenderloin - mushroom ragout, red skin mashed potatoes and cherry tomato
  • Prawns Tikka Masala - basmati rice with green peas and chana masala
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli - sauteed spinach, Alfredo and roasted red pepper sauces.
And for dessert: apple raspberry cheesecake.

Two thumbs up for the creepiness of Obzen.

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