26 September 2013
'Tail Right On You:' too much information on the bus
Americans complain about an increase in surveillance. They don't want the government to know their business, but sometimes it seems as if people don't care if anyone else does know about it. Maybe we worry so much about the state knowing our secrets because we've forgotten how to keep them. Here's a case in point: this morning a person got on the bus I ride from Albany to Troy. She was carrying on a cellphone conversation from the sidewalk -- and not in her "indoors voice." The first thing I couldn't help but hear was, "That's why I say Troy stands for Tail Right On You." She went on to describe how hard life can be for a crack dealer in the Collar City, though it became apparent -- unless she was actually showing some guile -- that she's not in the business now. She also made it clear that she preferred dealing in "bud." That's probably a question of clientele. But there's so much you have to deal with regardless of your product, from the dirty cops (she made one exception, naming a particularly "grimy" officer) to the people knocking on your door even after you tell them not to come over anymore. She was at least careful enough not to name names (except for the one cop), referring only to a "person" who supplied her when she was dealing. The fact remains that she was, quite unselfconsciously, telling everyone on the bus that she had been a drug dealer. Wasn't this a form of snitching on herself? Maybe she felt secure in the assumption that no one on board knew her name; more likely she didn't give a damn what anyone heard. In any event, no one (including me) was going to tell her she'd been (if she wasn't still) a scumbag, or even that her chatter was TMI for everyone else on board. Multiply her by millions and how can the government not know more about us than we want? What makes us a free country, it seems, is that we can't shut up, but we expect no consequences for what we say.