Monday, February 16, 2009

Tensions Up During Countdown to Welfare Day

Today people at Carnegie were chatting about the fighting in the computer room at Pathways Employment Center across the street.  Two men had gotten into a fight, one threatening to punch the other out, the second threatening to see him outside and kick his ass, the first retorting that he would see him outside and kill him.  These two men began lunging at one another but the computer technician, Glen, who got less excited than he does when he catches somebody sipping coffee at a computer, stood between them.  Another unemployed guy backed him up.  

"Where's the security guard?," a guy trying to concentrate at a computer asked. 

Then a woman who had been asking computer users if they had a crack pipe she could borrow, told one of the men involved in the fight that he seemed angry today. He instantly responded by kicking a chair at her.  The woman, who is mentally slow -- it was her who had initially gotten the first man angry; he had told her earlier, "This is not a drug center!" -- kicked the chair back. He kicked it back yet again, and she kicked it back at him.  This was all happening, according to sources, while the computer room was packed.  Everybody involved in the threats and kicking was told to leave by the female security guard -- except the angry guy who had started it all.    

"Why was there so much fighting?", I asked.  "It's two days 'til cheque day," a guy who witnessed the fighting said, smiling.  He went on to explain that people get edgy in the last days before welfare cheque day.