Monday, January 18, 2010

Noisy Bars and Disfunctional Agencies

The bar got loud tonight.

It often gets loud, but today is Monday, and it was pretty freakin' loud at 11 PM. Usually I let them be loud and try to ignore them, at least on weekends, but today I complained.

When I lived in the States and played in bands we used to have the cops show up on a semi-regular basis to make us stop. That's what you do in the states: you call the cops. Kind of like the cops give out parking and speeding tickets, and generally deal with things that go wrong. Unless you have a medical emergency or a fire, you call the cops, right?

Not here in Brazil. First of all there are two 'cops': the military cops and the civilian cops. I'm still not exactly sure what the difference is, except there are a lot more military cops than civilian cops, and if you get in a fight or someone steals your license plates you need to go to the civilian cops.

But you don't bother either of those guys if the issue is traffic related: then you have to rely on a separate agency known as 'SET,' whose fleet of cars will probably never pull you over, although they might write you a parking ticket. And if you have a noise complaint, you call an agency called SUCOM, which presumably stands for 'Quality of Life Assurance Department' or some such nonsense in Portuguese.

So I called these Sucom people at 11:15 and complained about the noise. The last time I did this, someone called me back an hour and a half later and asked me if the noise was still going on, and I told them yes, thanks for calling, could you come by now and tell them to stop? Now it is 1:40 and the noise has stopped, but it wasn't because Sucom showed up. It's because the party's over.

My friend who owned the graffiti store had a grand opening party when he opened his new store, with a sound system and a DJ and all that. At five minutes before 10 PM, which is when everyone is supposed to get quiet, Sucom marched up the stairs and tried to fine him 600 reis and take his equipment away. He managed to talk them down, telling them they hadn't bothered to wait until 10 PM.

And me? I'm waiting over two hours and nothing happens.

You know what the difference is between these two cases? Whoever complained about my friend's party had Clout. Connections. Tied in. And Sucom jumped to it. I don't have Clout, which means either they ignored my complaint or other people with Clout took precedence over me and I fell off the bottom of the list. Same result.

At least the drunk noisy bastards have opted to go to sleep. But if the bar gets noisy on a weeknight I will complain again, be sure of it.


Fabio Bossard said...

I've never heard of SUCOM, maybe we don't have it in Rio, but you said everything! "Connections" is what matters in this country, unfortunately.

(I think I can post "clout" on my blog)

Pedra said...

One thing that frustrated me to no end when I was living in Salvador was the lack of interest that anyone who had any kind of legal power had over the problems that everyone faced. When I got robbed I even went with someone who had clout to file the report. The result? Well nobody ever called me or seemed to do anything, but I did hear through the grapevine that one of the robbers got shot. Was that related to my rich friend going with me? I'll probably never know.