This is Norbet somewhere between the golden hours of dawn and the stringy brightness of mid-morning. Already half-way into his shift, he stands watch over the heard of snoozing cars that could be in any large city in any country on earth. It just so happens to be the car park in Southport and I’m scrambling up the incline on my way to work. He stands as shepherd and prisoner at the entrance – he is a new face – a recent recruit for additional security in the workup to @GC2018 Commonwealth Games. It took several weeks to get to know him. Firstly I received a surveying gaze – the kind especially reserved by all security guards – that forces you to fumble as though you have something to hide. I then graduated to an affirmative nod, confident my risk profile reduced from conspirator. Over the weeks our brief exchanges grew a little more animated and more vulnerable. A wave, a hello. A reticent “Good Morning” flipped into a “Howzit going?” Soon smiles cracked over our passing faces and conversation spilt. He speaks with an accented twang suggesting he’s from Western Europe. We talk about the easily talkable – weather, sports. He barracks for Collingwood and talks about his family with loving loyalty.
Beyond the martially dressed is a human, an individual, with quirks and passions and a ubiquitous need for connection. He is as you or I. Ten thousand security personnel have been deployed for @GC2018. All those sentry eyes – watching, noting, patterning of behaviour. Profiling against those who would praise unimagined horror on corralled innocents. Like Norbet, their other job is to gently steward minnows like me about my daily triviality. I’m reminded of how many security personnel I passed on my way to work this morning…at a guess thirty? Thirty Norbets, and then the remaining nine-thousand nine hundred and seventy Norbets. Each an incredible unpublished biography muzzled by the eight letter lobotomising word – SECURITY.