Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Forget Zizek, by Slavoj Zizek

In light of recent events (the demythification of the fiat money system as reified nihlism and yet another crisis response that explicates further the inability for our social structure to observe subtlety as signs of a system ), Zizek studies move to the fore.

For two years now in the paid parking lot infront of the Galleria, a crime has taken place everynight. No. A crime has taken place each night I work. This is not a coincidence. Circumstance introduced this criminal pattern to me. This parking lot stands at ground level, over the garage parking and provides greater convinience; there are no lines to wait for parking as in the garage, and most importantly there is not a designation between customer parking areas (nearer entrances to the Galleria) and employee parking areas (available as the last possible stop in the line for parking). The parking at ground level, positioned "above" the garage parking designtates people not by vocation or function, but as participants of a very specific and isolated act; paying the kiosk, or not paying the kiosk (employee/non-employee). I chose to go where they pay, where my job presented to prohibition on my non-economic decisions outside of the physical workplace.

I resented the curtailment of my right to park where I pleased based on the fact of my employment. As an employee of the service industry, I understand the dictum of the customer first (an overinflated value that acts as perversely socially as economic organization through false statements), yet I participate in this role in as limited a manner as possible, and negotiate its terms as subtlely and forcefully as possible. I moved to the bar in order to serve people on a much more limited basis (four seats available, standing room 2 or 3 deep only on limited occasions) and under strangely augmented rights on account of my title as barkeep rather than server.

Despite the fact that I encourage recognition of all interactions during my shifts as interactions between people prior to interactions limited by social economic roles, it nevertheless limits my identity in this negotiation to that of subordinate. This binary system, however, is fragile. I can interpret the silence of those around an irrate customer as silence of dissent of their entitlement, and communicate this translation of silence to the customer with indifferent disbelief, dead stare and eat shit grin. I am subordinated through the restraint of my full reaction, just as their actions are preconditioned by a pressumed social code whereby the individual may occupy the claim: I am spending money. I may behave as I please.

I am not spending money and I may behave as I please.

As I stated earlier, circumstance introduced to me this criminal act. My restaurant closes long after the mall closes, and my duties conclude long after that. The ambulatory security systems sleep at this time; a bolt locks the cage of golf carts, their rotating blue lights dim. Only the occasional guard passes aboard their two wheel segway, the kitsch soundtrack to the ice rank ominously missing. The only contact with authority is one which you provide the contact; the green button at the exit of the paid parking, a lane which is blocked by a black and white diagonally painted board that lifts once you have inserted your paid ticket. One evening, I pressed the green button.

"Yes. I didn't pay for my parking, and the doors to the mall are locked."
"The door all the way to the left is unlocked. You can enter and pay the kiosk there."

"The door is locked."
"I assure you, Sir, the door is not locked."
I am a paying customer and I may behave as I like.
"It is."
"Okay. Return to the door and I'll send someone to unlock the door for you."

"Security. Hello?"

I have seen the morning evidence of the night before. The splinters on ground, the two teenagers inserting a new board through the iron grip of the gate. The repairs are minimal and cheap. I find this act too overt, tasteless. Instead, that night, when the security officer failed to meet me at the door, by lifting the board over the car from my open window, I left the parking lot without paying. I've carried on with this act for two years. I believe that the only reason that I haven't been caught is that the other employees, security included, also do not recognize their loss of right to behave as they please.

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