DAVID CRAYFORD ------------ A LITTLE BIT OF DRY HUMOUR FOR A CHANGE, ALBEIT BASED UPON A REAL SITUATION WHICH PORTRAYS THE ---------------
-------- RIDICULOUSNESS AND STUPIDITY OF OFFICIALDOM AND THE EGOISTIC OFFICIALS WHO REALLY DO NOT HESITATE TO TRY AND EXERCISE THEIR COMMAND / POWER OVER OTHERS.
Two weeks ago I took a long walk, something I do occasionally to exercise my muscles and to assist to clear my head of the business computations swimming around inside in a frenzy of resolving the formulation of specific business matters.
I had walked several kilometers before turning round to go back to my home, taking a slightly different route back to observe what some months ago I observed with regularity.
I came across a small cafe / patisserie that I used to visit quite regularly, but something was amiss. There were no tables and chairs on the outside frontage of the cafe / patisserie even though it was open. Intrigued, as I usually am, I crossed the road and went into the Cafe / Patisserie to be greeted by the owner, a healthy Spanish woman in her mid fifties whose husband had died suddenly about three years earlier.
Owner: Good morning sir. You have not been to visit my establishment for some time.
DC: Good morning Madam, it has been quite some time since I came this way, but today I decided to take a long walk and come this way. How is life with you.
Owner: I cannot complain Sir. Will you have a coffee, the good one that you used to enjoy.
DC: I had hoped you would still be open, so yes please, and may I have a large slice of your superb Spanish omelet which is as good as any Spanish Omelet anywhere.
Owner: Right away Sir. Where would you like to sit.
DC: Right at the front, if I may, so I can have the coffee and have a smoke at the same time.
The Cafe / Patisserie had a "Folding Panel" wood and glass frontage which allowed for the whole front to be opened up. Then there was a area at the front of the building which used to accommodate the outside area to sit, relax, and have coffee and eats at ones' leisure, either alone or with friends.
The coffee and Spanish Omelet arrived at my table and I just had to ask what happened as there were no tables and chairs on the frontage.
Owner: Ah, officialdom she explained. We can no longer have tables and chairs on the frontage, everything must be on the inside of the building.
DC: Does your planning approval state that the inside of the building must be used for patrons of the Cafe / Patisserie and the frontage left vacant, I asked.
Owner: No Sir, she replied. I own the building and the frontage right to the footpath, and the approval does not stipulate that the frontage must be left vacant, but these new directives Sir is the madness of the local government.
DC: Hmm, Well I would like to have a smoke with my coffee.
Owner: Sir, you cannot smoke inside the building.
DC: I have an idea.
Owner: Tell me, she replied.
DC: Move the table to the edge of the front of the building, and place the chair outside the building on the frontage. Then I can sit outside and have a smoke, and my coffee and Spanish Omelet is on the the table inside the building.
Owner: Saying it with a big smile on her face, good idea Sir. I admire your ideas and solutions Sir. It will be done.
Calling for some assistance from the younger woman serving behind the counter and within a couple of minutes the table was inside the building but on the front edge of the building, and the chair was positioned outside of the building on the frontage area.
DC: Very accommodating and I couldn't have been happier. That was until within about 10 minutes a male turned up and went straight inside the building and stopped in front of the counter where the owner was standing.
I could hear the talk and it was obvious that he was telling the owner that, looking my way; she couldn't do that. He turned and approached me. I looked at the owner as she smiled knowing that this was not going to be an easy moment for the male official, but she was going to enjoy it.
Official: Sir, you are not allowed to do that.
DC: Do what I asked.
Official: No tables or chairs on the frontage of the building. The Frontage is for parking only.
DC: But that is what I am doing. I am parking my body on a chair after a long walk, whereby I can have a cigarette, a coffee, and a bite to eat without having to get up just to have a smoke.
Official: No Sir. You want to eat and have a coffee, you must be inside the building, not outside. Outside from parking only.
DC: But I am parking my body, so I have to be on the frontage.
Official: Sir, you cannot eat or drink on the outside of the building.
DC: I am not eating or drinking on the outside of the building was my response. My drink and this beautiful piece of Spanish Omelet are on the table inside the building.
Official: But you are sitting on the outside of the building.
DC: Yes, because I am having a cigarette.
Official: Sir, you are also eating and drinking on the outside on the building.
DC: No sir, as I eat and drink I lean forward so officially I am on the inside of the building. I am only parking my weary body on this chair on the outside of the building so I can have a cigarette.
Official: No sir. You cannot do that.
At that moment another patron of the Cafe / Patisserie moved his chair to the outside of the building and the table to the front edge of the inside of the building. Then he lit up a small cigar.
Official: Turned around to see what the other patron was doing and shouted across to the other patron, No Sir, it is unlawful, please put the table and chair back inside the building.
The other patron did nothing and just sat there smoking his small cigar.
By this time the official was becoming rather irritated, but the Spanish lady owner had a very big smile on her face.
The official moved towards the footpath, pulling his mobile telephone out of his pocket as he moved. Listening to the conversation the official was obviously requesting some police assistance.
Approximately ten minutes later a small police car arrives with two police officers inside. The vehicle stopped on the road right outside the Cafe / Patisserie, the two policemen got out and approached the official. After a short conversation one of the policemen approach me, signaling with his arm for me to move back inside of the building.
DC: I stayed put as I was smoking a cigarette.
Policeman: No smoking on the premises Sir.
DC: But I am not inside the building I am on the open frontage of the building which, I am told, is for parking, so I am parking my body to rest after a long walk.
Policeman: No smoking on the premises Sir.
DC: So what is it that you define as the premises.
Policeman: The premises Sir, indicating the building with his arm and hand.
DC: So, I am not actually on the premises then am I. I am on the frontage which according to the official is for parking, so I am sat her on this chair, parking my body after a long walk, and having a cigarette.
Policeman: No smoking Sir. Smoking outside on the footway and road.
DC: With respect ossifer (Officer) the Official informed me that I could have a cigarette here, not inside the building, but I could eat and drink inside the building.
The policeman turned to the Official who nodded his head in agreement with what I had stated.
Policeman: The official has given you permission to have your cigarette on the frontage of the building, but you cannot eat or drink on the frontage of the building.
DC: Sir, with respect but my drink and food are on the inside on the building on that table which is inside the building. All I do is lean over and take a drink from the cup or a bite of the Spanish Omelet, so I am eating on the inside of the building and having a cigarette on the outside of the building, the frontage as you call it.
Policeman: No Sir, you cannot do both. You either eat and drink on the inside of the building and smoke on the frontage of the building.
DC: That is exactly what I am doing, but you are contradicting yourself because you are telling me I cannot do it.
By this time even the policeman was becoming irritated. He and the official moved towards the footpath, talking quietly to each other.
They both returned to stand directly in front of me.
Policeman: Sir, you are breaking the law.
DC: I don't think so officer because I am doing exactly what you and the official informed me I can do, which is smoking on the frontage / outside of the building, eating and drinking on the inside of the building, albeit I am both on the inside of the building and the outside of the building.
The policeman then turned to the other patron who had positioned himself just as I had so that he could smoke his cigar. The policemen indicated to the other patron, with his arm and hand, for the other patron to move inside the building. The other patron stood his ground and stayed where he was.
Policeman: Sir, you cannot do both, If you do not move inside the building I will have to arrest you as you are breaking the law.
DC: But I am having a cigarette, so I am not allowed inside the building.
By this time everyone else in the Cafe / Patisserie became onlookers and were smiling in a way to say, "Go on, give it to these stupid officials", and that is exactly what I was doing. I for one was not going to give way to such stupidity.
I turned to the woman owner and asked, "Have you got the original approval for this building to operate as a Cafe / Patisserie".
Owner: Yes Sir, just one moment I will go and get it.
Off she went upstairs to get the document, coming back a few minutes later with document in hand, passing it to me. I requested the Policeman and Official to give me a few minutes to read the document.
Policeman: You understand Spanish.
DC:: Sufficiently, I replied stating, "Uno Momento".
After reading the document I passed it to the policeman and asked him to show me where in the document it states that the frontage must only be used for parking and that all patrons of the establishment must eat or drink inside the building.
The policeman read the document and responded by saying "New Laws, Sir".
DC: But they cannot be retrospective I stated. Laws, unless specifically stated are applicable only to new applications for usage of a building from the date of the new laws. By this time I was getting tired of all of this stupidity and egoism. I explained that any law being retrospective must state so and must give a period of time as such respective laws cannot be unlimited in time. The original approval does not state anything about the application of retrospective laws or regulations.
At this time the lady owner had turned her back to conceal her laughter.
Policeman: Sir, you are breaking the law.
DC: not as far I am concerned. I am well within my legal rights to do as as I doing and the owner is within her legal rights to place tables and chairs on the frontage of her property, subject to any conditions
of approval that may be stated within her approval document issued by the local authority. Secondly, the rights are there for patrons of this establishment to sit inside or outside to have a drink or eat.
By this time the Policeman and official were fuming.
Policeman: Sir, I am arresting you for a breach of the law relating to food outlets.
DC: Fine, I stated, go on arrest me and I will sue you and the Police service along with the the local government and its officers.
Policeman: You sue us all. On what grounds.
DC: False arrest and arresting of a diplomat contrary to International Law, specifically the United Nations Geneva Convention.
Policeman: You are a Diplomat.
Policeman: Where are your documents.
At that point I pulled out my medium sized wallet and from that I pulled out my Diplomatic Passport, passing it to the policeman.
Policeman: This is fake.
DC: You think so. I strongly suggest you go and get your commanding officer to check on the UN Screens, because it is as real as you are now standing in front of me.
The Policeman and official then walked to the pathway, talking as they went. Then the official went one way and the policeman, with his partner who had said nothing at all during all of this, got into their car and drove off, but not before passing my passport back to me. They played their little game which didn't work for them. The Lady owner was more than pleased. Ridiculous officialdom not necessary anywhere, or at any time.
Suddenly there was a huge uproar in the Cafe / Patisserie and everyone started clapping their hands. In addition some of the patrons started to move their table and chairs outside to the frontage. As for the woman owner she was extremely pleased and couldn't stop laughing.
Owner: Would you like another coffee she asked, and this one would is free.
DC: Why not I replied. That little fracas was quite draining, talking to such egoistic persons.
The Cafe / Patisserie had come alive. I was late in returning to my home, and I had made some short term friends. I did however thoroughly enjoy the delicious coffee and the Spanish Omelet.
The Motto of this real story is that "If you don't stand up for your rights, then no one else will whereby Officialdom takes over and your rights are extinguished", permanently.
I, personally, have had enough of the encroachment, by officialdom, into peoples lives and the lives of businesses who just want to give good service at a reasonable price. Such egoistic officialdom is totally unnecessary. This attitude of "You can't do this and you can't do that" by Officialdom is a restriction of the freedom that we should all be able to enjoy.
Such attitudes by Officials and Officialdom belong in the books of history of communistic countries.
© and Copy Holder plus "IPR", February2020, to David P. Crayford in conjunction with Abundanthope.net.