Sunday, December 13, 2015

The relentless clacking of East van taxis

Ever spend time around the bitter end of Vancouver? Not sure? Need a reference?
The misery oozes along Hastings St. which seems to be the main artery. You've no doubt seen miserable cretans pushing East Van Taxis through alleys filled with bottles, metal scrap, clothes and whatever else. The taxi wheel's clacking muffled only by the stolen shopping cart's metal frame protesting under weight.
Waaaaaaay back in 1867, Hastings Mill, started by the Englishman Edward Stamp at the foot of Dunlevy St. was more than an early settlement so I've read. It was in effect a company town. People shopped at the Hastings Mill Store and sent their children to the Hastings Mill School, milled about and innocently played. All seemed well.
Turns out that good jobs bring good money which in turn brings alcohol, bawdy houses, and lousy dives to sleep it off in. Did you know that Early Vancouver was Opium rich?
Lots has changed in Vancouver...but some of these skid row attitudes and rooms still exist today in all their pungent, miserable glory right under the nose of our Mayor and Premier.
A little nugget for free: The term skid road originally referred to the path along which timber workers skidded logs. It is said that the area's seedy origins date back to the early concentration of saloons in pre-Canadian Prohibition (1915–1919) and its popularity with loggers, miners and fishermen whose work was seasonal and who spent their salaries in the area's cheap accommodations and public houses. The infection of "nastiness" spreads tightly along Hastings East to Clark St. West to Carral St. and a few bitter blocks either East or West to this day!
This area, known as the Downtown East Side (DTES) is the poorest urban area in Canada. read that right! Smack dab in the RICHEST part of our Province we have this kind of misery!
There is unfortunately a market for everything down here. Do you know that the youngest prostitute "rescued" from a shitty area called Lowtrack was only12 years old?  Yeah...I heard of her during my first year working in group homes in 1990. The oldest was 67 for the sake of balance...
So why dear reader am I telling you these less than uplifting stories?
The truth is that I'm ashamed that I haven't done more over the years. I can't share details about my shift tonight at the Grouphome but it wasn't pretty to say the least and the this evening and my typical work week started me thinking.
Do you reaize that you needn't start out as a pathetic, stinking, lying, stealing, sickly zombie of a human to get hooked on dope?
Nope...truth is, it could happen to YOU right now! I've yet to meet a junkie who's life's dream was to become a junkie whos living half hour to half hour. None of those pathetic creatures studied up on how to become zombie.
I see it first hand birthing in teen-age kids! It frightens me. It crushes my heart!
Why did I decide to post this?
Tonight at a gas station after midnight, I asked the attendant in the clostrophobic booth who appeared older than I  "how is your night? How is your shift?"
His reply?
"I work to feed my family. I do what I must do."
All this to suggest that before you ridicule or pity the non-white dude at the local  7-11 or gas station you visit and stagger into after a night out on the tiles or your own job, understand that he/she may be doing this crap job that you'd never do in order to suport their family amd keep their kids off of Skid Row.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

distraction vs destruction

    I've been picking up a few shifts at the grouphome lately along with my usual Monday to Friday full-time work. In fact, I'm working 57 "shifts" out of a possible 61 days over October/November. I justify the work load by saying that we need the extra money or that the extra can go into my "bike fund". Truth is, both jobs are low paying so this extra I dream of is not really worth my exhaustion.
I really like both jobs so there's that, and I do have a list of things that are needed vs wanted that cost money, but honestly part of the truth is that I get bored too easily.
I really need to find a hobby that I can sink my teeth into because I'm alone far too often and I don't enjoy being alone.
I've got the usual list of excuses: Stuff costs money. Its dark by the time I'm home, I'm too tired to actually go and DO something...
More truth is that I fear that I'm simply sinking into an apathetic rut which I can't help think is perhaps why a dependence upon drugs or alcohol is formed by so many people or why that deep overwhelming feeling of depression clouds over and smothers clear thinking.
So yeah, I work.
Its become very clear to me that I can't rely on other people to "make me happy" or meet my needs so I've come to the conclusion that I must make some changes in my own life in order to not go completely mental!
I have several friends that live in single room occupancy hotels in the Vancouver skid row area and being alone, bored and unmotivated is their biggest complaint.
Their deep personal emptiness has a greater negative effect on them than even their utter poverty. I've heard it over and over again how each one has slipped so deep into sadness that they simply "couldn't leave their room".
I get that. I can really understand what they mean. That all consuming despair that everyone else says "snap out of it" is bigger and heavier than most other things we go through.
So...I must find a hobby that can be done preferably outside of my home which doesn't cost a ton of money.
Hopefully a few things that are on my radar will soon be within reach after another "extra money" payday at the end of the month.
I'm working 13 days of the next 16 so I'll be plenty distracted for now.
We'll see what December brings.

Monday, October 12, 2015

As we moan about over-full bellies

I know a guy, well...more than know him but I'm not about to give away anyone's details without them knowing first hand.
In any event, this guy that I know has a 911 Porsche that I promise you he's earned. He's a gentle man, a clever man, a loving man. He's what you'd call Self Made. I admire him! He said that he LOVES driving it.
Anyway, I saw the car and I was truly happy for him but it got me to thinking; What do each one of us have that we fall back on as luxury, therapy, getaway, fun or relaxation?
It's an interesting topic.
I have a motorcycle that I ride all year as most of you know and its my main form of transportation (more than my legs which is a crime to be honest) but, after the necessary mental gymnastics,  I'm able to separate COMMUTE from RIDE.
What I mean in that is that when I ride at the Week End or after work, its all beautiful therapy. I ride slowly with no aggression, sucking in the oxygen and counting all of the colours I notice along the way. Its my downtime, reboot...whatever you wish to call it. To be honest...once in a rare while, I sneer, curl my lip and give 'er shit! My bike can really fly when I have no fear...hell, I even growl!
What do you have?
Where do you go?
What do you do?
This is encouragement time!
You got a horse? Convertible? Fishing spot? Instrument? Writing?
Do you people watch?
I know a heavily tattooed local author that runs and writes and runs and writes...he STILL manages to fit in time for his boy and his "woman".  I could learn from Chris and plan to...
My wife plays this dumb ass (imho) game on her phone. Balloons crushing candy or something? Keeps her sane whilst juggling me (thats a chore), her full time music stuff and her full time work acting stuff whilst being available to several Doula's for child minder and being in local plays to boot.  (the woman seems to be on call more than a dial-a-bottle driver)
She seems to hold her sanity by picking on instruments and humming. (to be rather candid, I think she's borderline crackers...but what do I know?)
Me? I ride my motorbike all year, visit the river several times a week and SUCK IN MORE OF MY SHARE OF OXYGEN, walk DTES alleys and chat with desperate humans who's only thought that matters is how to get the next "rock" of Crack. (join me one day. You'll be surprised at the humanity...I promise) Buy 'em a coffee, Native smokes or a slab of shitty, sweaty pizza.
What do you do?
What ARE you doing to maintain mental health?
It could be ANYTHING!
You know your strengths, weaknesses, available resources and skills. Only you know what causes you anxiety and where your comfort level is.
Dare you step towards what stretches you?
My latest mental challenge is trying to step out of my comfort zone. I'm so chill holding a girl's purse whilst she administered heroin into a vein in her neck (true moment) or the time I pondered buying my wife a cool belt buckle at a street market on the infamous Hastings Street Sidewalk Sale  while the owner of said buckle emptied a poppy filed syringe into a damn near dead vein in his thigh.
"dude, what do you need for the buckle?"
"fuck man. Hold up I just got a hit"
For me...thats easy.  I've helped sex trade workers get dressed after being chucked out of cars after a "bad date".
So where's  the point where I'm personally stretched? Need I go into the business district and park Audis?
Do I have to shine Italian stitched leather shoes?
Must I take my holier than thou attitude and shove it deep into the sewer?
So yeah....a 911 Porches that is probably very far from entry level but in all honesty easily within my friend's means doesn't seem all that extravagant in the big picture. In fact, I'm envious because I have a 17 year old shite van and my 12 year old loving-it-to-death motorbike which I can barely afford to keep on the road and his stuff is so fresh.
But the bigger picture?
I spend time on the river with Brock. Brock is 27. Mum of his daughter left him and now he lives in a tent along the Fraser River (won't tell you where exactly the full story isn't mine to share) and he looks likes shit! Last time we bumped into each other was just after he got his welfare cheque. He gave most to his daughter and then bought tobacco and shite beer.
He offered me one of his cans of Wildcat as we sat on the river bullshitting... even though its damn near the worst beer on the BC market in my opinion, that one tasted to me like one of those uppity $1000 bottles of champagne that South Vancouverites line up for. Is it the flavour?
The name?
The region?
What your friends see that you bought?
Sticker price?
Or do you honestly prefer it?
In fact, I was warned by an in house expert to ignore the recent 2012 Bordeaux release unless I was a Collector. Buddy in the know said that he could give me several "better options" than 1 $180 bottle of this stuff.
I giggled and paid my $11 for ale.
So i ramble...I'm known for it.
What do you do to reboot?
Who do you help?
Are you happy?
How may I help you?


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Kid Gloves with holes torn through cruising Facebook

Here we are in a very important year in Canada. We gets to vote! It's our right, its our privlege.
So...of course I'm all over this on the Facebook! As it turns out, the current Leader of our Country is very much for the rich (didn't see that coming) not to mention He seems to be rather racist with his dumb ass comments on OLD STOCK IMMIGRANTS and other crap.
To be fair...Harper is from Alberta. Alberta should be the 51st USA State in my opinion. Rampant Gun lust, *quiet opinions like "I'm not racist but...." and several other archaic nuances.
So yeah....I get hassled on Facebook by Alberta folks. Truth hurts I guess?
How many Canadian Prairie Good Ol' Boys side with The Trump I wonder....scary thought!
I even had one guy post "TIME TO PLAY COWBOYS AND MUSLIMS" with vintage imagery of White dudes shooting guns.
And that guy professes a Christian faith...hmmmmm?
Sounds a bit like my ugly heritage. The English gave you a chance to honour (their) God or they'd stick a sword through your skull.
Nothing has changed I fear.
It would appear to me that as far as Alberta goes, I'm not allowed to have my political opinion.
This held very true over the 11 years that I lived there.
I saw a bumper sticker often in Alberta:  PISS OFF A LIBERAL BUY A GUN
I made my own sticker that read:
My sticker was torn off of my van with 48 hours. Democracy?
So here I am, back on the Left Coast with like minded people. My only hope is that we can agree and Vote for 1 party to be sure to send Harper packing! (he'll get a nice need to worry about him)
But as far as my Alberta ties go? Apparently I'm an idiot. Many think Harper walks on water and carries incense to the very gates of religious ceremonies.
So'll see #heaveSteve painted on my motorbike tank and #endofanerror on the other side.
Its time for him to go, he's done too much damage to the have-nots.
As far as my Albertan opponents go?
Relax...the NDP will look after you.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Worn out faces

I work with a woman. Well, to be fair, she isn't on the truck with me every day but she manages to keep the daily bullshit in one pen so to speak. She's what? 26 I think...
We chat. Of course you chat with coworkers...some you avoid. She talks a fair bit of politics, social sciences, the state of the union...I can relate.
Today she pipes up "Lance, do you think my face is getting wrinkles?"
I found it kind of funny.
I found it kind of sad.
20-something and she's wondering about this?
She's really pretty! She's fit, athletic, TomBoy, smart as a textbook, outgoing, on top of current issues, has her own fashion sense...and maybe...if the light is right...a wrinkle. Maybe.
This surprised me. It was out of left field for her. Shes so damned together in my limited perspective. What do I know...
So I saw Ray today. Ray is in his 60's but if you saw him, you'd probably guess a rough 70.
Ray used to sleep outdoors, but he "his bones got too old" so he applied, and got a room at the St. Helens in Vancouver. Could be worse by miles. He has his own kitchen area and "shithouse".
Ray pulls in disability each month. I won't bother filling your time with his story about how he got where he is.. suffice it to say, kids that never call, a wife that loathes him and a Government that dangles a carrot of hope in the form of "more help" under his nose.
So Ray, I like Ray. Ray talks about things how it is from his viewpoint. I bet I could spit in his face or slap him in the head and he'd ask "why'd you do that?"
Always a smile creasing his filthy face. Always half in the bag by 9:30 am when I see him. Always a story.
The place I work for can't "use" tinned goods that are dented. Health BS... (staff can bring them home to eat. Often we do....) In the back of my 5-ton truck, I've got 6 crates of canned goods. Name it, I've got it! Soups, sauces, fruits, veg, beans, ravioli...dented but fine.
I keep 'em on board for Red. I've introduced you to Red before. You need Red on your side in the DTES. If he doesn't get on with you, I pity you.
(Red...again, a dude on disability...weighs 346 with gimped knees. No dope, No booze, No gambling)
Red got me a cigar for my birthday last month. Think on that. A dude who lives in an infested SRO hotel buys ME a cigar. Shit...the brother remembered my birthday! He recalls my favourite food for crying out loud!
My friends. The invisible ones. The scumbags.
So back to Ray.
I see Ray today at 9:15 and he's shittered but in his typical great mood. The guy's eyes twinkle even though they're opaque and bloodshot.
I manage to manoeuvre the truck around Robson at Cardero without killing anyone but infuriating taxi and bus drivers. Screw them, I'm on a mission.
Big deal? U-turn on Robson. Suck it up! I signalled...
So I pull my headlight up to Ray's chin as he's sitting on a bollard with his cart full of empties. Ray is a Binner. A polite one. A successful one!
He beams...he recognized me. He trusts me more than I do. What if I misjudged?
"Ray you old buzzard, where have you been? I haven't set eyes on you for weeks"
"I got sick bad. I got heat stroke then I got sick from that rain. I don't have good heat at home. My clothes were wet. I was gonna go to St Pauls for the cough...but its 3 hours waiting. How are you?"
"Ray, how the hell can I complain when I talk with you? You know I feel bad if I do"
"We all have different problems Lance"
"Can I buy you a coffee Brother?"
"No thanks, I have my beer going."

I tell Ray about the tinned goods, he's thrilled! I allow him the pick of the litter and he grabs about 30 tins of various stuff. He keeps telling me how much money I've saved him...
Money. Commerce. Invisible trade for most of us.
Ray asked how my daughter was. He remembers meeting her. He says "you're still married right?" I tell him "barely" but regret the words the moment they slithered off of my tongue.
What the hell do I know of his life?..and I try to provoke pity for mine. Humour or dare I?
I pull away through the alley and attempt a left turn onto Robson. A frail man that must be 110 is pushing a shopping cart across the Robson and the pedestrian light is count in down quicker than he wishes. I look, I cock my head and watch as the numbers count down from 10 as if to suggest this poor bastard's lifespan...I catch myself...tight throat.
I'm brought back to reality at the sound of a car's horn. An impatient dude in a Tesla is pissed that the Old Dude is holding him up by a few seconds.

I want a year of Jubilee. I want an even slate. I want the Fawn to graze with the Lion. I want Love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sometimes the mirror you're looking into doesn't need glass

I'm deciding on chilling on my alcohol intake. To be's only beer. But it's becoming too valuable to me at a cost. CAVEAT...this is my choice...not YOURS!
So let's review....
Beer helps my chronic back pain. Legit but an EXCUSE
Beer helps me fall asleep when my financial burdens surface and I hold a low paying job AGAIN. (I guess I chose it.) EXCUSE
Beer helps me assume all is well when I feel lonely. EXCUSE
Beer helps me cope when I feel abandoned. EXCUSE
Beer is celebratory. EXCUSE/TRUE
Beer is comfort when life is shite. TRUE/EXCUSE
Beer is good with Wings  TRUE
I'm is good  TRUE
2 beer (Pints) helps me be sociable, 3 up to 8 makes me an irritable, instagating Asshole TRUE
Unfortunately, due to my endless shite Life Planning, I can't really afford good beer TRUE
I drive for a living, beer is bad. TRUE
I LOVE the flavour of various styles of beer. TRUE
Chances are, if I've had enough beer, I do stuff I wouldn't typically do. (the jury is still out on this one but I added it for the purpose of "level field" I mean, who's the judge? I could get away with so much with "YOU" that I couldn't possibly get away with "YOU" for instance. Follow me?)
In any event, right now I'm going to walk up to my Local and buy 1 can of ale as a celebratory FUCK YOU!
If you happen to see me in the next little while or invite me along to a thing and I decline beer, mention this and don't offer me beer and  PLEASE CONTINUE TO HELP ME! I love beer....but I love you more!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

That burning sensation of your personal business

I was asked to marry a couple about 3 months ago. I was flattered and teary eyed. Of course I said YES!
I met her HIM just before they asked me but I've known her for about 15 years. She's 25 now I think and the closest its been to marrying my daughter. I wept controlled tears of joy during the outdoor ceremony, I lost it in private.
Time waits for no one! Was I ever 25? Who was I 27 years ago? Did I have dreams? Was I merely surviving a mental barrage of information based on stupid life choices and no game/life plan?
Is my suffering today a direct result of being a dumb shit with no council so long ago?
My (no) money is on YES!
So the wedding...I was asked to wear to my Utilikilt (look 'em up and get your guy one) and of course I agreed happily!
It was 30+ degrees C in Okotoks that day and I was nervous. I wear the kilt in the tradition of Ancient  wearers of old...on it's own!
But man did I sweat that day! Nerves you know?
So yeah, the wedding was a brilliant success and all is well! People danced into the night blah blah blah.
The next day, I went on an 11 km hike along side a river that disappeared now and then as we climbed small mountainous trails.
More kilt freedom for me!
I could feel my discomfort growing as the temperature between my thighs began to rise. It wasn't pretty I can assure you! How on Earth did the Scots ride horses let alone fight?
 Anyway, I was with 2 people half my age, even so I kept up with their enthusiasm along the intermediate trails...but secretly I was suffering. I'm sure any bear that chanced by would turn his nose up to this well-done morsel!
It became apparent to me that the Gods of Moderate Endowment were playing a trick on my pride with every step, they blessed me with a nasty rash!
Oh to squat in that river! To feel it's cooling embrace...but no. Soldier on! Walk in the fire!Stagger through the sting!
I eventually made it through that trip and the short work week of driving truck (in agony) before my motorcycle trip with my wife for our 25th.
Our bike trip was brilliant! Sunshine Coast, Gibsons, Davis Bay, Powell River, Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet, Maple Bay etc. We saw many friends and had loads of fun, but my rash increased in fury!
Oh how I wish I was making this up!
Afterwards, I returned to work on the hot truck with slightly teary eyes replacing the usual spring in my step, that bloody rash was migrating regardless of creams, air, ointments and petitions to the gods that cast it upon me in the first place. I had given in. Without knowing the game, I surrendered to them.
Alas...they've not yet granted me audience nor given any relief 4 weeks on.
So today, I'm down in Vancouver's "skid row" doing one of my usual drops and I chat with one of my usual acquaintances. He lives in one of those 12X12 rooms that cost over $500 month. They call them SRO's... dumps in Single Room Occupancy hotels that the City of Vancouver and Her Mayour Gregor Robinson continue to allow to exist. (must be a profit thing or cash promises from future Developers)
So I'm grumbling the way I usually do and my guy grabs at his crotch unapologetically and violently scratches it a few times as if he's on fire...
 I tell him "Dude, I know that dance step..."
He says "Yes...fucking bed bugs. I hate them!"
Suddenly my non-parasitic rash earned outdoors in the country whilst breathing fresh air taking exercise isn't all that bad!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

take stock.


I was with my friend Red today. I'm not allowed to tell you his real name because the police and some other guys want to talk to him. I know a bit of the story...I know too much.
I can use his nickname because you won't meet him unless you walk around those nasty areas in Vancouver's DTES and bump into him.
My wife has met him and likes him. He likes her. My 21 year old daughter met him today...I think she likes him but to be fair, she doesn't mind "those people".
Red punishes the scales at 356 pounds, has a bald head since he was 19 so he says (he's 47) several Confederate Flag tattoos and uses words to describe people of colour that I won't repeat here or get the idea.
Red has a HUGE heart! He looks out for the Sex Trade Workers that (we) know and lives in the battle zone. I get to go home every night.
One day, my daughter was on the truck with me helping out and hanging out doing my usual route. Red caught wind of some of what some of the local guys said about her (unheard by me) What they'd like to do with her...
Red went off the rails!
He's a good guy to avoid if he's in a bad mood. (today, when Red met my daughter, he said "If ever you have any problem when you're down there, say my'll be ok") I think I believe him.
Red lets the local women sleep at his place when they're scared, sick or hurting. He's described the arrangement but you don't need to know that.
I've met several of these women who are deeply trapped in addiction leading to horrific poverty and daily doses of hell, they all have stories. They all had dreams. They're not just "whores"!
Facebook trolls give more passion towards beat dogs and starved kittens then they do towards these fellow humans.But who am I to judge? (oh right...)
I met a young woman today who is addicted to heroin. She says she hits 3 or 4 times a day but doesn't know how much money it is. She gave a guy a blow job for $1.35 last week. I'd love to meet him after sunset.
I'll do you one better...her friend did the same thing for a car ashtray full of cigarette butts.
I don't make this stuff up. You want more?
Catch these women when they're not "hurting"
So normal sounding, so many dreams....
Are you ashamed of anything you've done? Don't judge these women for God's sake!
I gave LB a chocolate bar the other day, she couldn't beleive "no strings".  This woman is stunning! Great personality, hoarse voice, full figure, big eyes, strong legs, big smile...HIV positive, persistent cough, delusional, bruises everywhere, teeth missing, staggers as she walks, drifts in and out of consciousness, and needs dope.
I quite like her. Honestly, she must have been a knockout before dope...she still has glimmers of "oh damn" but they're fading fast.
Brandy (regular local woman) ate a 5 lb bag of gummie bears in about 15 minutes today. That was quite a feat. Sugar you see. I kinda thought they'd last her. Lesson learned. (is that even a bad thing?)
Another woman stole a roll of paper towels from Red's room (SRO) the other day...she didn't have any tampons. He forgave her.
Every week end Red sprays "the raid" around his room and door because no one else on his floor does. Red is bed bug and cockroach free.
At $575 month, the room is clostrophobic. But hell, he has a window!
Times are tough! My house lives paycheque to paycheque. If we're careful, we can waste money on beer and the odd meal out.
 In saying that, we have a rented home, insurance, a van, a motorbike both insured, health benefits, internet, iPhones, clothes, foods, hobbies, family, friends...the list goes on.
No real reason to bitch!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Slap in the face like a 2x4

I'm a bitchy cuss, I admit it. I have to LOOK for the good during each breath or I see the bad. What the hell, I'm British...I come by it honestly. Harry was a brilliant professor and I was a remarkable pupil!
So, in the vein of negative shite, have you ever read something someone wrote about you that they thought you'd never see or would fold like a cheap Walmart tent if they knew that you DID read it? Was it an ad? A reference? A comment on social network that slithered into your sight unbeknownst to the author...or worse? Something penned by a loved one or dear friend??
How do you deal with it? How DID you cope?
I don't give a rip about what strangers think or say about me. In fact...I could care less what acquaintances say or think.....
The thing that stings is what CLOSE friends or Family say. The stuff that they don't have the balls to say to your face...but write it down, gossip about it within family circles or they try to shroud it on social network sites (use your friggin' skulls, people)
During a recent trip to Alberta to perform a wedding ceremony between a couple I've known from a youth group I led years ago, I recalled the horrific gossip that oozed around the County about me in several towns as I drove past my former neighbourhood.
Three Hills, Acme and Linden.
All the shite said ABOUT me (never in direct earshot) apparently occured while I served as Associate Pastor at a very busy Alliance church for several years.
(Thankless gig. I DO NOT recommend any kind of "job" within a Christian organization!)
The BS one particular 40+ woman conjured up about me without witness or corrorborating testimony could have landed me in jail! I asked the bitch for proof in front of witnesses...she couldn't deliver, but the local, gutless, faceless Kangaroo Court she rallied together had already deliberated without any incriminating fact. I guess as Pastor, I wasn't doing what she wanted and she rallied her mindless friends. Such are closed-minded Christians focused entirely on themselves.
So, my bit? I pray I never set eyes on her again! I wish her no ill will, but I hope she fades away to BLACK.
I pray for her kids...God help them remove her teaching from their hearts....
I was driving the 5-ton around Vancouver today. I'm a professional driver but I still manage to daydream at the odd red light. Today, my thoughts centered around how Family see me vs how Friends see me vs how Acquaintances see me.
Acquaintances: Binners, Strangers asking for money, Humans in wheelchairs, Addicted Sex-trade Workers, Welfare Bums, Mentally ill and Criminals that I chat with daily vs Friends that have known me for years vs Family that have known me forever...
You wanna know the truth? I think Acquaintances peg me most accurately. I don't hide a fucking thing from them.
So...the title of this post: Slap in the face like a 2X4?
I was chatting with a guy asking for coins that I often SEE outside a Government liquor store (he doesn't want me to use his name)
He saw and heard my motorbike.
He used to race dirt bikes. Modified dirt bikes. He talked like he's either lived it and was highly skilled or rehearsed it to the point that he's 1970's current and trying to gain street creed. Buddy is in a motorized wheelchair! Legs don't do what his brain asks and arms and hands protest every order.
I think he raced in the day.
Buddy pegged my heart, he identified a few of my passions and thanked me for chatting with him again (as possible spare change walked by)  he challenged me (I'm not telling what he said) and shook my hand with his. If I shut my eyes, I'd describe the sensation as holding a bare tree branch in a storm. But you know what? I felt Love, Compassion and Sincerity.
So...all this to say that I really don't care what you write about me in secret, whisper in the shadows or veil in snide social network comments.
I'll breathe deep with the people you may not see...because you know what?
THEY SEE!!!!!!!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Looking down while walking is rude.

There's this woman who writes poetry in Vancouver, she walks the streets and will "sell you one for a dollar".  She'll read one, you pay, she tries to sell another...then she carries on. I was with my wife once, she gave us one for free. I didn't listen to her words I must admit. Instead, I just stared at her face and drank in her emotions. She looks a bit like Janis Joplin did crossed with that scary hippy biker chic on the film CC and Company. (Damn Anne Margaret had it going on! But really...Joe Namoth?)
Sorry....I'm back.
She isn't completely fit mentally but who is if we're completely honest right? I mean there was plenty of evidence suggesting she has her own issues and perhaps has medication too, but more than that, she has more guts than you or even I do. She's working through stuff, she's out there, she's sharing herself.
"More guts" may not be a fair comment. More ambition? Less inhibition? Less care about what other humans think?
She's the type of person you might wish to avoid should she suddenly appear on the pavement in front of you as you walk merrily along. You may not have even noticed her until she spoke to you directly...but she was there.
Think of your own hobby. Do you have the confidence to walk about the city peddling Its result to tourists, restaurant patrons and bar/club bound people? Not sure I do. I do however chat with people because I love people and their stories. I also dislike too many people.
When the people I do love do something that I interpret as "hurting me" I get confused. Why would people do that? Friends, family, mates at work...perhaps the transgression is a fabrication in my mind. Perhaps it wasn't deliberate. Perhaps the timing was off. Perhaps I'm too delicate or self-absorbed. YOU MUST ALWAYS MEET MY NEEDS kind of BS.
Truth is, we don't even know what our needs are do we? They're as ever changing as colours in a year of sunsets. Sure, our basic needs are obvious to the degree that we don't verbalize them let alone think of them, but what of those quiet little silly ones?
The hugs you need. The missing compliment on a fresh hair style or outfit. The gasp he didn't give as you sauntered past in lingerie. How she didn't mention she noticed how the colours were plated on food you prepared...
Maybe we need the ovaries of Poetry Woman. Perhaps we need to start asking outright and forget about clues or hoping that we'll get stroked the moment we need it. God knows I could learn from my ramblings.
When people I don't know or "love" hurt me, I'm reminded that I have no good connection with them, just a fleeting negative one. A rude woman in a queue, an ignorant guy driving like a fool, an elitist cyclist etcetera.
I'm reminded that there are over 7 billion humans on Earth and I only know a few.
I love surprising strangers and asking them to tell me a story. People usually share pleasant experiences that is, until we become friends...then the negative events are passed around. To me, this is a sure sign of needing to be heard. Needing to be understood. Needing to be be loved.
I'm not here to even slightly suggest that you rush right on out and make more friends though. Think of it in truth; friendship is one hell of an obligation that we all take too lightly. Being a friend is a massive responsibility with huge expectations intertwined within the accord. Being a Lover carries even more joy and burden!
We're too tired to be a friend. We're too self absorbed to be a good Lover. WE pick and choose mates, times and events. That's ok, really it is.
The church calls it "burn out" when Pastors get tired being friendly. I'm not sure what we call it though.
Perhaps we need to call a friend. Better still, knock on their door.
After all...looking down while walking along is not only rude, its lonely.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Special K IS pretty special

It's just gone 4am today and I'm doing another graveyard shift at the grouphome. This is the 5th one this month on top of working 40+ hour weeks driving a 5 ton.
I can't tell you about the kids at this place because they're minors, suffice it to say that there are not many "good" stories here.
Harry used to work in corrections. He landed a job at Oakalla prison here in BC and after several years there moved on to work out of a halfway house in South Vancouver on Hudson St. in the Marpole area. I couldn't imagine the Blue Bloods in that area allowing a house like that up there now! In fact, the original site is about 7 minutes from my home. Funny how things go.
If you don't know, a halfway house is where convicted criminals live upon release from prison to begin the process of reintegration with society while still providing monitoring and support. The Offenders get meals, a room and a program in addition to whatever their parole conditions are. Some end up back in prison unfortunately.
Opening a new halfway house is often opposed by vocal people called NIMBYs  ( Not In My Back Yard ) To be honest, I wouldn't want to live within a community of  NIMBY's.
Anyway, the reason I tell you this is that I get lonely on this shift if the kids are away or asleep like tonight and  I'm Missing Harry.
Harry was my dad if you didn't know...
Harry did shiftwork for about the last 20 years of his work life. You gotta admire a guy for that don't you?
In my mind's eye as a child and a teen, I can see Harry waving goodbye as he drove off to work in the different cars he owned throughout the years.
A 59 Pontiac Stratochief, 66 Pontiac Parisienne, an "in the meantime" 74 AMC Hornet until his 75 AMC Pacer came in and finally his 81 Chevy Caprice Estate wagon, the last car he'd drive.
He had to wear a uniform in Prison and hated the green colour and the tie. He hated anything even close to formal or military. I come by that formal bit honestly so it would seem.
The 70's were innovative years, so much changing so quickly. As a kid, I'm sure I missed a lot of things but I recall lots!
Harry hated it if mum "kept his dinner warm" in the oven under tin foil. I can still hear him "June (my mum) for Christ's sake, leave it on the counter Love. It's horrible all dried out like this."
He adored her, don't get me wrong! He was a crusty Brit is all. We eventually got a 60 lb microwave in the very late 70's. Probably from Sears...they were loyal to that place.
Harry wouldn't take food to work with him. I suppose they had meals in the house and leftovers like here, but the man was very picky...probably didn't eat. He DID take a little plug-in kettle and a few tea bags though. No tea there? Seemed odd even then. I can still see the fold-over baggie. No ziplocks then.
Somewhere along the line, Harry found a little black and white portable TV to take along. He could get 3 channels. Imagine 3 channels back in the 70's early 80's. What was even on during the lonely hours?
Lonely. Harry had 1 friend. Dave. ( Dave worked at the house and drove one of those very cool 70's Volvo P1800 E coupes. It was copper coloured. Ugly choice.)
I don't know how Harry managed lonely. Maybe he never got lonely? I get lonely. I'm lonely now.
Harry told me a few work stories in later years over beers in strip bars. Like the time he flushed the toilet at the house and the tank seemed "quick" to fill. He lifted the lid and found 2 bottles of Vodka.
Did he fill in a report? Nope...he tipped the spirit down the sink, filled the bottles with water and put them back where he found them. He said he never heard a word about it.
He played tricks on his work mates often, I wish I could recall some to tell you.
Some mornings, when I was still very young, I'd hear Harry get up and put the kettle on and I'd get up too. School was hours away but often I'd pretend I couldn't sleep just so I could sit with him before he left. We didn't really talk about anything. What is there to say to a little kid as you're getting ready for work?
I recall feeling sad for him though. I don't remember why I felt that way, I just recall the emotion as if it happened only yesterday.
A cup of tea and a bowl of Special K cereal, every time I got up...and I did it many times, that's what he was having for breakfast on day shift mornings. He ate, I was quiet. Damn I wish I remembered if we talked!
You know, I've tried Special K and I don't get the appeal...but sometimes, in a grocery store when I see it there, I look around in case someone is watching and if not...I touch the box.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why does cerebral drama occur at night?

We've all got our shit to deal with. Unfortunately, others also have our shit to deal with too. You don't get to pick and choose how other people will respond to your madness or selfishness, but you may have to live with it.
Blow out is often seen as bad karma, but really...maybe you earned it.
I had a dream the other night. I don't put too much stock into dreams because as Ebenezer Scrooge says, "you may be the effect of an under cooked potato or a bit of undigested beef"
Never the less, my dreams are telling.
I recently had a dream wherein my wife put down her instrument in the middle of a jam we often attend to walk over to me and point out the 6 men that she had recently slept with. (caveat, she hasn't...)
I woke up mad.
Another nocturnal event had me shouting at my boss for being an utter tit with no clue about the daily goings on. Albeit true, I'd never resort to a public thrashing such as that.
I'm a news junkie. I had a dream that the jet I was on crashed into the sea. Many were lost...horribly. Victims were dismembered, burnt and bloated. I survived via a short swim. The dream was so vivid that I woke with heavy guilt that I survived while many perished.
Another dream, I lost an arm. No idea how...but for a motorcyclist and photographer, this is NOT good news. I just sat in a white room and cried.
So why is it that we can fumble through our respective days oblivious to our deepest fears and anguish?
Why, on our pillow, does all the shit slide down the wall and onto our brain?
What's your poison? Debt, age, health, kids, unfaithful spouse, middle age, aging parents, rebellious kids...
Why do our thoughts overtake us the moment we're meant to recharge...reboot...rejuvenate?
How many books have been written by authors with all the answers? ( we all know that they lay awake at night too! Save your money!!)
We try so many tactics and angles to sleep.
SEX, tea, lavender, reading, yoga, stretching, meditation, prayer, reading, massage, alcohol, snacks...
I may have missed your favourite angle, but I bet you lay awake too.
My brain is a convincing lier. My brain whilst horizontal on my pillow has a way of nullifying the effects of my citalopram and thereby convincingly whispering everything to me in the language I trust, everything  I dread or fear about YOU or me! ESPECIALLY what I think of me and what I think that YOU think of me!
This is quite like chasing a feather in the wind.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

the thundering cranial pageant of being Right

Forgive my absence...busy you know?
So I went to Vancouver's 420 "celebration" in order to garner an informed opinion. I don't do weed (drugs) but I'm not opposed to "organics".
Here's the caveat, ANY illicit chemical concoction is absolutely out and I believe, for the record, that the people who abide in chemical drug experimentation are being absolutely reckless, ignorant and stupid. (To my friends that do chemicals, I love you...QUIT IT!)
Where was I?
Right...420. What a pathetic display! I'll get back to that in a shake (pun intended)
So I'm still on that anti-bummer drug citalopram and it seems to be helping. I liken it to a foggy car windshield. You can certainly drive the car with a muggy window but you're basing your operation of the vehicle within an opaque deficit if I can use the term. Drop a few milligrams of citalopram and it's like hitting the defogger switch. Now your decisions are based on clear, accurate information. No more conclusions made in the fog. I also have the balls to clarify information when necessary (insert ovaries if applicable)
I have a friend that has been on a cocktail of anti-depressants, anti-convulsive and anti-psychotic drugs for about 9 years. I really like him...but I often wonder who he REALLY is. Does he remember? Is that pre-dose guy a bastard? A disaster? Does he recall the gorgeous, heady odour of an apple pie cooling on a window sill in August? Do they do apple pies in skid row?
A friend of mine is on 350mg of happy drugs. I really enjoy her company! I love who she is today...
She tells me that she needs that amount. Who am I to say? What do I know. 10mg keeps this Tyro out of the Dark Places.
Like I said, I really like her...would I hang with her if she WASN'T on that dose? I think yes...but that remains to be seen. If anyone has earned Happy Drugs, its her by a long shot!
I stopped over at Steve's place. You remember Steve? Lives rough along the Fraser River, has that tent...well you should see his Shangri-La now! Buddy has a fine squat! I'd live there proudly. He found work and has even allowed a dude named Brock to "live" there for a few days until "his money starts coming in".
I'd way rather my tax money go to these guys BEFORE Harper's millionaire pals....but I digress.
Local news recently reported a fire in East Vancouver along Hastings that claimed the lives of 2 Squatters. 2 visitors to the derelict building slated for demolition to make way for the Strathcona Village condos were however rescued as they dangled from windows. They tried in vain to reach their friends, a 66 year old and her son (to be confirmed)
Every local news station is mute on this story now as backhoes clear the rubble. No flowers, no candles, no care.
Meanwhile in Richmond, arson claims the life of a woman and nearly kills her son. I keep hearing about THAT story!
Did I mention that the Strathcona fire was preceded by a "very loud hissing followed by a bang in the basement" ?  No inquiry claim is better than paying for demolition. (oh yes I did!)
I got a friend in the DTES who has a vice. I like him, but I hate his vice. Don't get me wrong, he's a hell of a guy standing in at 340 lbs but he can be as pissy as a picnic wasp after being swatted away from the Mennonite jello salad. The guy respects me, I call him on his bullshit and he threatens me if no one is around. He really likes my wife too.
His vice? Sex Trade Workers. He lives in a SRO hotel that is true shite and he trades a warm safe night for these women for...whatever they negotiate. I liken him to some parasitical crawler you know?
Like I said, I like him...hate the vice!
How best we govern our fondness of other humans only after we have clouded our opinions of them with our own moral code, community standard and prejudices?
To my knowledge, this guy has beaten at least 3 men because they continued to "bum" smokes off of an incredibly obese woman with mental health issues as she sat outside the local Mission. He too has a code that he lives by! He's like a Watcher of the Wretched. I tip my hat to him...but deep down I'd enjoy adjusting his attitude! God help me!
There was a room fire at recovery house for women mid last week. I stopped in as I do several times a week only to read a note on the door in big letters:
Ever seen Triage? What a jewell of a resource!
But imagine if you will, coming home to that note. What a kick to the fragile mental well-being! Triage is amazing...but it isn't anyones home I don't think.
I've heard about this in the Grouphome, from guys on the street, the media blah blah blah but I'm a cynic. I had to see for myself. WHO is dying to get weed legal? WHO is using weed openly? WHO is hoping for change?
So I rode to the Art Gallery from work and spent 45 minutes trying to find parking. Our Mayor has really allowed City Hall to convert Vancouver into a NO CAR city. What a tool! Hard to park my motorbike? Really? ( I pay the same meter price as a car...only the City has given us designated spots. Not at a third the whack...full grab)
My heart sank as I walked thru a crush of under 20's smoking joints IN THE FACE of cops. They knew they'd not be bothered, so they acted quite appropriately like KIDS. I pressed on towards the band playing Bob Marley tunes (colour me shocked)
I passed a booth where 3 heavily tattooed clowns wearing American basketball attire amped up the sleepy crowd as they tried to keep their 1/2 pound joint lit. Is this the equivalent to chugging cokes? All I could think about was their resumes. They claim the weed has NO EFFECT on their abilities etc. So why smoke it? I'm so square! I've smoked weed once in over 2 decades. I'm talking out of my bum.
Tell ya what, tell me that you enjoy getting baked like a fresh caught trout in a cast iron skillet along the river and I'll give you my blessings...excuses? Isms? Piss off!
So on I squish.
I came upon the food trucks. What a display! I saw guys and pretty young women...girls really, attacking tacos, grilled cheese sandies, burritos and hotdogs like hyenas on a warm carcass blotting in the Serengeti Plain sun. There wasn't a crumb left on the pavement and I'm certain I heard growling! The seagulls overhead lamented at the spectacle.
Allow me to mention the Medicinal Dope Pushers.
Marc Emery didn't see this coming I'm sure! I lost track of just how many booths were set up with Medicinal Carnies calling their product. So many promises, so many jokes, so much smoke...
Who creates the names of this stuff? I can't even recall any but boy was I giggling. (contact high?)
Marc my words (sic) Walmart is gonna offer weed right after Starbucks and LuLuLemon.
So WHO was there? Best estimation has been at 15,000 humans.
I'm not a total washout at guessing ages...good grief, I've woked in the humanities for over 20 years...
I'm going to estimate that 90% of the people I saw between 4;15 and 5;35pm were under 30.
I'd go "all in" betting that 75% of those people were under 20 and 80% of THOSE people have She-Shes. I was surprised.
I was expecting Bikers, Deadheads, Hippies, and Surfbums. Nope, totally blindsided.
I'm 51 years young, I don't do drugs (mmmmm beeeeer) and I now have an accurate portrayal to support my fear of the deteriorating health of Canada. If these people are next in line to Govern, either it's gonna be a slow summer Alabama slumber or a dazed, lackadaisiacle takeover by a clever clan of cronies that don't smoke weed.
In any event, I'm sure I'll be too old to give a shit!

Feel free to disagree, challenge, comment, send accolades or death threats...I'm in no way 100% correct on anything I ever write! But in THIS case....I'm right!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Live for Self

Adherents to LaVeyan Satanism changed the Golden Rule into "Do unto others as they do unto you" so that (they) are only to give compassion and sympathy to those who (in the individual's estimation) deserve it. They do not believe in Satan or God, in fact, to the Satanist, he is his own God.  
Hollywood has done a real disservice to the Satanist by always falsely portraying him as a sex crazed murdering psychopath. Some Evangelical teachings have quite a different opinion altogether. The Satanist is seen as the #1 enemy of the church. In fact, I'm willing to bet that even a good majority of Satanists don't quite understand Satanism or adhere to it "rules" properly.
You know, in my humble opinion, most North American churchgoers, particularly in the USA appear to be closer to the actual definition of a Satanist rather than living out Christ's demonstration of unconditional Love for your neighbour. Dying to self (as opposed to living for self) is all but unseen in Christian circles. At least the real Satanist admits it! 
And now, with THAT can of wormy Pandoric box opened, let me continue...
Surrey (given City status in 1993) has been in the News too often lately. You know, that kind of News that makes "good copy".  Negative News, Horrific News, Frightening News, unsettling News etc. Surrey will never, so it would seem, let us down with sensational News. 
Whats your flavour? Gang drive-by shootings, gang murders, drugs, arson, murder, sexual assaults, B&E's, child abduction, grow-ops, illegal suites, corruption, 4 hour wait times at Surrey Memorial Hospital, random violence on transit, car chases, races and crashes? In fact, CTV News named Surrey the car theft capital of North America in 2002. It's all there amongst half a million Surreyites packed neatly into 122 square miles of area that was not too long ago, mostly farm land.
To be fair, not all of Surrey is bad (so I'm told) in fact, some of Her ethnic gang mentality seems to have crossed the river into my area of East Vancouver. Groups of South Asians (proven by news/police charges not based on prejudice) are beginning to fight and race around South Vancouver hurting each other and Asian gang members from Richmond. (again...verified).
Back to that tenant of Satanism:  "Do unto others as they do unto you."  AS YOU SO DECIDE WHO IS WORTHY (author's addition)  This is left wide open to interpretation isn't it? Give compassion to those you decide are worthy of it. Give mercy only to the Ones deserving it based upon your own prejudice of skin colour, type of motorbike they ride, wealth, religion, former home on the planet, job status whether or not they stand up to piss....
Seems silly and arbitrary when you ponder it doesn't it? Alas, thats what a true Satanist my research suggests.
Now, back to the nice people in the church. Whenever there is a need, a true "hey, can you come out and lend a hand" kind of need, you can always count on the same 8% to muck in. Believe me, I've seen it first hand in 4 different churches in 4 different areas where I was heavily involved with the people of the community.
So, why is it that the church points to Satanists as a threat and Satanists point to the church as archaic and failed?
Why do we really care what others think?
What of the people that are not involved in any "faith group"? Do they muck in more or about the same as everyone else?
There was a guy pushing a shopping cart of belongings along a road at 3:30 am and he was hit from behind by a Semi truck and trailer. Yes, he was in the road...but the truck driver didn't stop! Better still is the PT Cruiser driver that passed by the carnage all across the street less than 10 minutes later. Rest easy gentle reader, CCTV footage has been able to help Police locate the truck driver. The PT driver is next.
Lots of Love displayed there huh?
What about me? I must admit, if you're having difficulty in any kind of situation, I won't hesitate to help you. Rain or shine, day or night, Surrey or Disneyland...unless you're in a luxury car dressed to the hilt!
So yeah...I identify with this problem, too.
My ignorant rationalization is that if you've got that much money, you can pay someone to help you out which in turn helps them out. I'll stick to assisting the slob that barely makes ends meet (unless of course I know you and Love you, then I don't care if you're rich or poor) The snag here is that I must first generalize and assume...
What about you? Where do you fit in? Do you help everyone? No-one? Some people? GASP! Are you a Satanist or Surreyite?  
This thing called life sure is tricky isn't it?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

left out but important none the less

Theres a guy I know that i've nicknamed The Undertaker which is very fitting if you see him and the bonus is that he really likes the handle. We're friends and he asks if he can come with me on the truck as my swamper regularly. I don't mind the company. I buy us 7-11 coffees and the occasional "kiss me quick" lunches. I can't afford to get us lunch every day but I would if I could. He rants about fast food. A rare treat for him...a pleasure to watch him salivate over food I usually target for some slanderous Facebook posts.
You've met him in past posts.
The reason I mention him is because he's lonely. He has no friends and is left out of absolutely everything.  He suffers depression to a degree that makes my own diagnosis seem like a bad passing memory by comparison. I'm on meds, he's on disability, plus a cocktail of meds, regular specialist visits, MIR's and regular scans to monitor his brain activity.
He used to have seizures, LOTS of them but brain surgery has made them dormant for the time being.
When he isn't with me, he walks around Vancouver looking at buildings and girls while being genuinely nice to all comers. Or he lays on his bed in his room for hours on end wishing that he had somewhere to be. Go pace out a 12x12 area in your home and think about living in that space for 3 years. He does that day in, day out. His space is tiny. He is 6 foot 4.
Every work day, I go to this one grocery store in a chain to pick up day old pastries that they donate to the organization I drive for. The staff are friendly in spite of dealing with many rude entitled customers day in day out that seem to have all but forgotten kindness. Difficult for this blabbermouth to hold his tongue most days.
Anyway, theres this older woman in a tiny kiosk selling BC Lottery Association tickets and misnamed Scratch and Win cards. She looks pathetically lonely! Her starving eyes scan passersby but her tractor beam doesn't engage many. I see her 5 times a week and occasionally save my weekly lottery ticket for her to check. She's very friendly, professional and is always smiling...when someone is with her. Otherwise, to me it looks as if she is on the verge of tears. Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it!
When was the last time that you were left out of something? Friends didn't call but went to a movie, family members got together for a meal, mates from work went to lunch, the guys hit the pub, coffee with the girls that you didn't hear about...
It sucks doesn't it? Those moments when you're on the outside, not included even though you know for a fact that you're very important and likable.
I know what that feels like. Worse still, is that I know that I have friends that know what that feels like! We al get lonely!
Theres a guy that hangs outside my local Government liquor store begging for coins. He gets pretty chatty when you let him and he greets every single person with a "hello" or a "good day" He has a tin plate on his lap for coins should you feel gracious with any change, but he NEVER asks.
I've spent time chatting with him. Sometimes it's difficult to understand him but his eyes are always beaming. He says that he gets cold and lonely.
Saying that he hangs out at the liquor store is misleading, I'm sorry.
He's confined to a mobile bed/chair and can only move his head, right arm and hand. He's usually wrapped in blankets. I'll ask him his story next time, after all, he knows that I see him.
It's a new week tomorrow, we've sprung ahead! Bright eyed and bushy tailed! Call someone, visit someone. Go outdoors and sit with a pensioner and ask them how they are. You may want to take a pad and pencil...I'm guessing they'll be a story to retell.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peaceful Resting

So I was driving the truck the other day. I had the Undertaker as my swamper. You remember the Undertaker. He stands 6' 4", weighs about 220, and frightens children the minute they see him in the dark. He's the guy that had his skull surgically removed so they could remove 2 grams of his brain in order to alter whatever it was that gave him chronic seizures. He actually told me about the procedure. He was awake the whole time. He felt nothing, he told jokes, but he did feel pressure as they stapled his skull cap back together. Anyway, I digress. The Undertaker lives in the Laurel Apartments. This building should probably be burnt down due to rats, bedbugs, get the idea...but the Undertaker is happy.

So he's in the truck with me the other day and we dropped lunch program goods at a school in Burnaby. As we're coming down Royal Oak I mention that Oakalla Prison Farm used to be on the right, and Harry worked there. Harry BSed them on the interview and ended up in a tower with a shotgun and a sidearm as the inmates grazed cattle, herded pigs, and whatever else they did on the farm. The prison is long-gone and there's townhouses there. I wonder if the tenants hear voices at night crying, wailing. One of our last executions occurred in Oakalla, if memory serves correct. They shut this archaic building in '92.

So the Undertaker is looking at the townhouses and the lower grassy meadow that used to be farmland, and he wonders if there was any rehabilitation. As you begin to drive uphill northbound on Royal Oak, Forest Lawn Cemetery is on your left. Harry used to call that hill "The hill of the dead and the forgotten". There are so many flowers and wreaths and flags and momentos in this graveyard. I have to do mental gymnastics to look upon hundreds and hundreds of dead with beauty laid on top of them. The Undertaker wondered why anyone would want to be buried in the dirt. He figures we should all be recycled in organ donor scientific study.

As we carry on our way, we ended up in Vancouver's DTES. This is where the Undertaker lives and this is where he walks around and tries to inject happiness into other people's lives. He laments because he understands that so many people down here have 2 options. They've come out of prison and they are heading to that graveyard. He wonders why in one of the richest countries, in one of the most prosperous provinces, the current government turns their back on human beings. The Undertaker usually talks endlessly,'s all to do with his meds and his surgeries, but as we drove past the hurting, invisible desperate people he fell silent. I have never heard him say nothing.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whats it all abut Alphie

I saw a new Lamborghini with the graduated BC drivers licence mandatory "L" designation on it today. Lime green, the colour of the sleek unit, isn't my favourite choice of the hue, but then again  Ferrucci Lamborghini's followers don't design cars that interest me. To each his/her own I guess.
So I'm guessing the Lambo comes in at $400+K and buddy is a new driver in BC.
He may be young or mature, seasoned driver or novice...but in BC, he's new and he drove as if he was.
The thing boasts between 500 and 700 horsepower which means 0 to 100km in like 2 seconds...but I digress.
Buddy didn't signal when swapping lanes on Hastings and he raced to every red light. My work truck chugs along and I don't speed...we met at each light. Maybe I'm an idiot, but if I spent large bank on a car, I'd drive with loads more deliberate care! In fact, I do!
A&W is running a special, Mama burger combo for $5. I had The Undertaker with me swamping today. You recall him yes? He's had brain surgery, suffers depression and lives in a shitty manky SRO in Vancouver's infamous DTES...anyway, I bought him lunch.
Again, with all due respect to Allen and Wright, that food isn't amazing...but The Undertaker LOVES it and it's a treat.
He's been to the restaurant twice in about 10 years due to lack of money. I've been with him on both occasions.
I had root beer, he had coffee with the combo.
The Undertaker used to have on average, 60 seizures a day and the brain professionals couldn't figure out why. After much thought (ironic) they decided to poke at his brain. Whilst he was awake and aware, they sawed a portion of his skull off to expose his gray matter. He tells me that he heard the "crunching" but felt nothing.
Anyway, his brain is 2 grams lighter than when he went in. Seizures continued, blah blah blah.....
Then one day, they stopped! The Complete Brained people can't figure out why. He doesn't care. He has "normal life" to show for it and hand tremors. ( I love buying him overfull coffees to watch him shake and spill them)
He suffers major depression but has decided to be my unpaid Truck Monkey 5 days a week because " I help him see things better".'re teaching me!
He stirs his coffee counter clockwise. Who does that?
Last week along the bitter portion of Hastings street, 2 guys approached him in order to sell him some hash. (I didn't know that hash was still around. My go-to drug 20+ years ago) He took a look and asked how much. They said $30 and he laughed and said maybe $10 and walked away. He smokes weed when he can afford it. A guy in skid row sells him shake. He's found hair, a penny, twist ties and crumbs in it. He suspects the shake is swept up off of some kitchen floor. Works for him he says, low tolerance...
Anyway, these 2 idiots stat following him taunting him at 6:15 in the blessed am. He turns and politely says "go away"
The undertaker is 6 foot 5 and the nickname I've given him fits like a glove! He LOOKS like a mortician. So these guys carry...and he gets agitated. Those Happy Drugs that we're both on can't always mellow out adrenaline.
He throws one guy rolling into the street (too early for heavy traffic. Bad planning) and bounces the other guy off of a brick wall. He continues walking to meet me whilst these tuff guys are licking their wounds.
The reason I tell you this is because I want you to see how The Undertaker dealt with it.
He was sad. Filled with remorse. He hated that he raised his hand to these two guys. He didn't come on the truck that day. He walked home to his bedbug infested room and lay on his bed for about 17 hours.
The other day, I went with Paula to the Cannibal Cafe on Commercial drive. Wing Wednesdays. $5 wings and beer. For a moment I agonized over what flavour I wanted my pound of chicken arms. I eventually made my choice. The beer was an easy one to make.
(there's a theme in this post)
We hired a guy that said that he had several years driving truck. Nice guy, worked hard in the warehouse and he seemed to be keen. You needn't be a genius to drive truck on hi ways, but in the inner creases of Vancouver, it takes a bit of skill. I log 60km every day in the city and I love it. I could have swapped my run for hiway/warehouse loading when they hired the new guy, but I declined. My day is full of humans, traffic and hand bombing product. No warehousemen loading pallets on my truck.
So the new guy is on day 4 and my boss lets him drive hiway while he sits shotgun. Success! I get in early but have1 more pick up to do. I ask if he can come to see where yet another vender is, granted.
I let him drive because the boss did earlier.
11 minutes later during a right turn into an alley, he peels off the front end of a $46K Mercedes.
I've driven professionally longer than not, I'm thinking he wasn't a truck driver.
They let him go.
We all make choices hundreds of times each day, from picking cherries or corn flakes to lying to the awkward friend and telling him you're busy tonight.
But who else is affect by our choices? Can we have a prejudiced mind over the choices of others?
Lime green exotic car. Really?  Bright pink Liberty Mowhawk?  LuLuLemon for everyday wear?
A&W for lunch?
Or our BIG choices, think of those ones...
Throwing a large rock into a pond is's the ripples that warrant concern.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Heavy pressures of the past presently present.

I had a nap the other day. I think I work too hard and it may be catching up to me. I work full time driving truck and part time at the group home not to mention trying to learn this blasted ukelele with classes once a week.
My wife keeps me tired too, but thats good tired. Welcomed tired.
But damn I'm dragging.
So I nap sometimes. Its come to that.
The other day while absorbed in thick sleep, I dreamed of my dad Harry. I was a teenager back in North Vancouver and I was doing my chores around the apartment complex that my mum managed.
Harry would often govern my chores...certainly afterwards if not during. He worked too ya know! Didn't have time to chase after 2 idiot sons...
So in my dream I was sweeping up in the 40 stall underground parkade that usually saw me net about 300 cigarette butts and the odd bit of paper trash in my handy scooper. Every 3 or 4 months I'd take a large push broom to the entire area. I hated that day!
How difficult do you s'pose it is to sweep butts into a catcher pan? You've seen the sort.
But Harry watched in my dream. It was surreal and vivid and realistic.
He'd come down to the parkade to check up on me in real life.
Do you know he'd point out any trash that I missed? Cars came and went as I swept up...could have happened anytime!
We had grass on the boulevard and there was a bus stop there. Another chore saw me picking up trash with a spear I made. Why bend over when I could stab the paper crap rolling along the grass?
Harry's place was 3 stories above that grass. "OI, you missed a bit back there!" he'd shout and point.
I also painted suites when people moved out, bachelours, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom appartments. I was rather good at it and quick...but Harry would mention shortfalls.
"You left a bit of a mess in the sink in the tool room after you cleaned up..."  What was I then? 17 I think.
Maybe Harry's tutelage created the workforce that I am now? Still...that pisses off a kid!
I used to cut the grass too. I recall Harry showing me areas that were missed from our 3rd floor balcony. I tried.
Dreams are funny. They provoke memories.
As you know, I work in an emergency receiving group home. Tonight, I managed to talk a very stoned 16 year old heroin addict into cleaning her room. I'm fond of this kid! I'd like to rescue her! I began by telling her that I bet she couldn't deal with her room in 30 minutes. Her room is derelict! (am I the only one that works there?)
She took up the challenge giving me the usual sass and taking mine in stride.
Talk about impressive! This kid tidied, thru in laundry, vacuumed, sanitized and hung up clothes in record time! Protocol says I'm meant to check her room, but I didn't.
I told her that I was satisfied with the job if SHE was satisfied with the job. She tried!
Later on, my co-worker said it was well done.
Years ago, a dad called me to set up a meeting with him. I'm game for anything!
He told me about his frustrations with his 17 year old son. "the kid lay around all weekend and I have to badger him into doing any jobs around here" I asked what kind of jobs.
Usual stuff. Taking out the trash, clean the room, homework, put away dishes, walk the dog, cut the grass....
Theres a nerve!
Tell me about him cutting the grass.
"It takes me forever to finally get him out there and then he does a lousy job!"
"He misses the edge, clips flowers and it looks like mow hawk hairstyles in several areas"
So what do you do?
"I show him the crappy job and do it again myself! If you want anything done right..."
I remember asking him if his grass was more important than his relationship with his son. Of course he said no. I pointed out that he tries.
I challenged him to set the kid to the task and NOT CHECK IT afterwards.
He really struggled with the instruction.
Towards summer's end, he noticed that he didn't have to ask the kid to get out and cut the grass and he no longer cared about the quality of the job the boy did. It got better however...and the kid seemed to enjoy the task. Funny that.
My friend Ray is on Social Assistance and lives in a nasty SRO in Vancouver. You remember Ray?
Ray goes about binning and manages to keep himself in crapy beer for his bottle collecting efforts, he also sweeps up and rakes leaves for a few local businesses for roughly $3 an hour. Its smoke money he tells me.
Ray pulls 2 big trash cans from an apartment complex into the alley each week in the West End of Vancouver so the truck can tip them.
The Asian apartment manager gives Ray $24 a month for his efforts. Saves the manager doing the job. Ray is crowding 60 and he says that he has nothing better to do. He's an alcoholic with a shitty track record of jobs and addresses. Not what you'd call hireable. But he tries.
The Undertaker is that odd dude that I welcome on my truck whenever he wants to help swamp. I like the guy a lot but he talks none stop. Literally, non stop.
The other morning he was walking up Hastings street to meet me at the truck and 2 guys stopped him. At 6:30am they asked if he wanted to buy some hash (I didn't even know hash was still around) They said $20 and showed him the chunk. He giggled and said "I'll give you a dollar"
Offended, they came at him but they ended up worse for wear. The Undertaker made it to my truck but was too grieved to work. He was physically ok but felt horrible for smacking the 2 clowns around. He also felt bad because he was going to let me down swapping for the day. Hey man, you're a luxury on my tried!
I sent him home to read, chill and forgive himself.
Isn't it funny how we beat ourselves up when we think we've failed? Or worse, when we've been told that we've failed?
We keep track of our shortcomings. We brood.
I'm sure Hawkeye Pierce could tell you how many lives he's lost...but that he has no idea how many he's saved!
I'm guilty first hand! If you follow me on social network sites, you'll notice how I moan about early morning commuters that try to kill me as I ride my motorbike to and fro...but I rarely communicate a good trip without issue.
All this to, to suggest, that you try and ponder the good and let the bad go away.
At least you can try.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mirror into the abyss

Today was Cheque Day in MetroVancouver, also know as Mardi Gras around the Downtown East Side of the City because "everyone parties like they're a millionaire on a holiday" which lasts about 3 days and then the soup kitchens have their usual queues numbering over 100 souls.
I drove past one of those Hipster Haven places just before 9am and there was already a queue of about 50 people wanting to buy take away beer. The Astoria bar on Hastings street has seen some changes, lots of gigs and dances during the week nights, but this was very sad looking out there. Not a Hipster to be seen...
90% of the people I noticed on the streets today "living the good life" were men. Why is that I thought? Then it hit me! I wager the majority of women that take Social Assistance each month, are home with kids trying to make ends meet while the dad of the kids is nowhere to be the Astoria type line ups.
I personally know many people on the dole that in my all knowing opinion, shouldn't be. They COULD work. They're around every day and able-bodied.
The snag in the plan though, is that they might have to take a job paying $12 an hour that offers no benefits. After taxes,they might see $1600 a month in which to pay shocking rents (thank you Mayor Gregor) buy food, bus tix, toiletries etc.etc.
Not possible! So, go on Welfare and get your below poverty level tuppence, get medical and dental when its an emergency, take a curse or upgrade, hit the food banks and soup kitchens, dumpster dive, drink, smoke watch tv and enjoy the summer. Quite the scam!  (I know a Native guy who not only has his Status Card, but he lies about where he lives for cheapICBC truck insurance, draws a disability cheque AND works full time! Oh yeah, he's on meds paid out by WCB and uses medicinal weed. His wife is a full-time nurse (different last name) they live in a Condo and just bought another one to rent out...)
What the BC Government offers as theSocial Safety Net is not enough to sustain a good lifestyle anywhere in the Province. It does however, create lots of Provincial jobs to insure things barely roll along.
Before you start chirping about drug addicts, drunks, ex-cons etc.etc, allow me to point out that if you've "got it made" I'm willing to bet you had help and support along the way. I don't know too many people that started with nothing. Maybe I'm wrong? I do know this though, life is very difficult and if you haven't got money, friends and family to get you too could end up in very difficult situations.
I saw a guy pissing in an alley today and said hello. (after he was done)  He told me that no stores will let him use the toilet. Here's the thing, I stand to piss outdoors too!
I couldn't really see a difference between that man and a hungover Hipster in Gastown on Sunday morning. I guess the difference is that the Hipster could afford to BUY something and in so doing, gain the right to use the toilet.
What a messed up attitude!
I guess a hungry guy with a full bladder can do more damage to the toilet than a half drunk Hipster. (think about that for a moment)
I was walking past Save On Meats (google them, you can help people thru them) and these 3 idiots behind me were talking very loudly, mocking people and places:  "OH YEAH, I SO WANT TO LIVE IN EAST VAN. CAN'T WAIT TO GET DOWN HERE..." I found myself surprised by my emotion. I wanted to slap the 3 20-something pukes back to the Suburbs to the safety of their parents closeness.
I gathered that they were fortunately NOT moving into the area and were simply passing through to enjoy their playdate together.
Funny isn't it? I'm as bad as they are...different target group p'raps but the ignorance and rudeness is in tact.
Side thought for free: I wonder how much crime has to do with gaining money? I bet if greed and riches were off the table, crime would plummet!
So there I was today, driving truck around the GVRD noticing people with extra large pizzas and other takeaway foods living good. Big money to be made in poverty.
Truth is, if poverty was eliminated, I'd be out of my 2 jobs.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Losing my way in this age of ignorance

At 51, I'm starting to understand a little bit of how my dad possibley felt.  Harry was a simple man, a good man but a simple man. Hands in the horse shit bucket to do the garden type of guy! RESPECT!
Harry couldn't cook though and he often used the wrong tools to mend things that would probably need mending again 2 weeks on. He had a very unique view of the World that was a bit skewed to say the least. I often watch old British sitcoms just to hear Harry...
Bless the man! He did his best and that was always good enough and beyond. I miss Harry!
With a foreign English education equalling about grade 6 in Canada during the 70's, Harry answered an ad in the paper and became a prison guard at the infamous Burnaby BC penitentiary named Oakalla. He managed to get through that and ended his work life in a half-way house in Marpole. He retired on Vancouver Island with my mum. Harry could talk to "inmates" quite easily.
Harry was a blue-collar dummy. I mean absolutely no disrespect in giving him that title. I too describe myself as such.
Like my dad before me, I haven't got much, but what I have accomplished, I've done it on my own! Nothing has been given to me. I'm not a member of, as Warren Buffet calls it, The Lucky Sperm Club. Not sure if that makes me more grateful or jealous. Jury is still out.
The World seems to be getting smaller and faster. Thanx (I guess) to technology, we now know what's going on 12,000 miles away in about 42 seconds. I'm old enough to recall a time when we'd hear bits of news about our Southern neighbours probably due to America television feeds. Africa? Middle East? Not a peep. We had a battered black and white tv that got 6 channels on a clear day if Harry was in good enough mood to readjust the roof antenna after a wind storm. "Bloody thing". I recall coming home one day to my excited mum. We got a thing called cable. Now we had about 15 channels. I went into the garden several times looking for that "cable". I never did find where they put it. I wasn't going to touch it...I just wanted to see this new marvel.
I'm about 5 smart phones behind the trends and it's the only gadget I currently own save an introductory Canon camera. Come to think about it, I still don't use either to their apparent potential. I'm a bit dim in that area I guess.
At the grouphome the other night, I had to type out a Missing Person Report on a 17 year old addict on the computer and "save the document to the desktop" I had to wait for relief staff to arrive to show me how to do that. She thought it was "cute" that I didn't know. I took a photo of my report in the event it was lost. (insert laughter, how cutes and eye rolls here)
I remember Harry getting a car with an automatic transmission, he would often gear down when climbing steep hills but take his foot off the gas peddle as he did it as if working a clutch. Poor car.
So yes, my simplicity comes to me honestly. I'm in no way book smart. Hands on chap actually!
My present struggle is trying to master a few chords on my ukelele. They just won't stick in my brain. God knows how you musicians can actually play? Aren't you all on heroin or the Pot?
Still. Mustn't grumble. I'm rather good with humans and can usually chat with anyone. P'raps theres enough people out there who can play ukeleles. I'm not giving in just yet though. My own speed...not anyone else's. I'm doing it for a Royal Albert Hall appearances, no desire there.
At the risk of beginning to offer up the illusion that I even know what's going on culturally, I can't help feel that instead of being left behind, p'raps people are in too much of a hurry to obtain and use the latest and greatest trend, that they're missing a few things? Quite like driving too fast to enjoy the view. New things are nice, but the industry has baited us with language like "upgrade" trade up" etc and many of us feel like we MUST obey! 
Pay attention to grocery store shelves around September and you may notice NEW AND IMPROVED written on many familiar products. What was the former effort? Old and stagnant? 
I went to the motorcycle show a few weeks back, a little over the top for me if truth be told. I didn't see any carburetors anywhere but I did see an electric Harley Davidson. Really? The carbs I knew about but an electric bike? I had no idea.
I wonder where the time went. What else have I missed? What have I been up to?
It seems to me that I have little precious time to sit down and fiddle with some new thing for a few hours in order to figure out how to do something with it that I was already managing to do with its predecessor. I don't get it?
I'm watching a series on Netflix called The Walking Dead. I'm a few seasons behind apparently, even so, I gain personal comfort watching these humans struggle through seemingly insurmountable odds yet still carry on. I continue to lose my way in this Age of ignorance...MY ignorance, please feel free to join me when all things electric go to shit. I may be of some value to you.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

If only we treated people like our animals

I had Red watch the goods on my truck today as I made a delivery of 4 pallets of product to a location in Vancouver's skid row. If I don't shut and padlock the back door of the truck, everything within is seen as a gift and would disappear the minute my back was turned. I fear the treasures within are not mine to freely give I've got Red.
Red is bald as a badger and has this menacing skull tattooed on the side of his big head. The skull is happily smoking a fat joint. Looks as if I drew it on a very good day. Still...pity.
Red stands about 5' 10' and weighs in at 300+ pounds, is street smart, walks with a limp and every female Sex Trade Worker knows him. Red doesn't partake though.
"I like to know that the girls are safer if people know they know me"
I think it's a safe bet.
Red had a job, blah blah blah. Found dope and drink, blah blah blah. Lost his wife and son because of it, blah blah blah. Hit the skids and is now on the way up.
Same story...different face. I really wish I knew what to do for all of these people.
A Vancouver Yellow Cab was parked in the Commercial Loading Zone as I arrived. I politely hit the horn twice very quickly. "Hey you, I'm here." No dice. Buddy didn't move.
Red was sitting across the street. He saw this, walked over and said to the Cabbie "Move the fuck away so the truck can unload or I'll drag you out of there and kick your ass"
The cab moved. It's all in the delivery folks...all in the delivery.
Every day, I throw Red a bone or 5 to watch the truck as I grunt my wares half a block to their new home. A jug of milk, yogurt, tortillas, butter. Whatever "falls off the truck".
You see, Red lives in one of those infamous SRO Hotels near Hastings and Princess and his hard times see him without food a plenty like us.
Red doesn't drink. No dope, no smokes. I think he pays his rent and eats. Vices.
I'm in this area every day. I see people hitting the Mission for free coffee and muffins every day. Often, I see fisticuffs, drug deals, Sex Trade Workers chasing bad dates away, the odd guy fall over for no apparent reason, lit up ambulances, police cars and general mayhem.
I also see well dressed people walking to the bus stops on Hastings st. Mums walking little kids North to their preschool or bigger kids South to their Elementary School.
I rarely see interaction.
Junkies know junkies. Hookers know tuff guys and dealers, cops "know" everyone, I'm getting to know people, kids know each other but the Worlds really don't collide.
It seems odd to me that laughing, chatting women in their 30's stop making noises altogether and quicken their pace as they pass women who work in the most dangerous job. Is it too hard to bid someone fare well? Random attacks on people rarely happen at night let alone daytime.
The invisible Ones feel invisible you know! True story...I've asked many of them. Just say hello!
So there's Red in all his magnificent glory guarding my potatoes or whatever I was hauling on this pouring rain day, and all these creatures walking past him. The Ones he sees daily and nightly. The ones that to me, bear an eerie resemblance to the Walkers on a show I'm watching on Netflix.
So Red pipes up: "Holy shit man, look at this dog! It's beat down and trembling" I stop what I'm doing in order to look at a scruffy Border Collie who indeed looks a bit worse for wear. Like he's been camping for a week with Vegans and didn't receive enough protein.
Then it hits me!
Think of the "healthiest" zombie you've seen in one of those shows...ok, that's an addict in the DTES. It occurred to me that a dog who is a bit scruffy and could use a few Supersize combos weighed more heavily on Red's heart than emaciated humans!
And he's not the only one is he?
Take a look at your Facebook feed or your Twitter timeline or any local Canadian News provider, animals in rough shape get more sympathy than dying humans that we TRY to ignore every day!
Get a job you bottle picking, panhandling scumbag! Piss off and die junkie! They should put all these people with mental health issues in a special place...
Ooooooooooh! Did you see the story about the poor starving Husky? Hey...did you hear that they're only giving that woman 6 months for killing six dogs? Throw away the key!
Then we talk about missing and murdered women. *crickets*
No one gathers at Courthouses with placards standing up for the rights of those women...but dogs and wee furry kittens? Busloads of people carrying torches.
We're living in interesting times people.
I love animals, don't get me wrong. I've invited many into my home! I love them to a fault and always will! ( I feed racoons, crows, squirrels etc etc)
But I love humans more!!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

shattering my Eastvan silence with echoes of the past

I hate to admit it, but I need you! All of you! I'm an extravert you see...I know it to be true, my therapist told me so. I traded her $130 for an hour of her time each week and we chatted about me...about you, about all of us. She must be telling the truth right? I can't really put a price on peace of mind mind you, but along the way, she has helped reveal to me the thick meat on the bones that are surrounding my existence. I eat that meat slowly and thouroughly then hand the bones to the crows. I love crows. No shortage of crows around this shortage of bones for them either. I've lots to chew on. Big mouthfuls, slow, deliberate chewing...savouring the flavours I may have been missing for a while.
Tonight, I walked about the local alleys creeping people's windows as they gathered with family, friends and relatives watching that football game. I don't care for sport really, but I love the fact that the spectacle brings people together. Food, drink, tension, anxiety, joy...even that awkward Uncle with the open-ended obligatory invite. (God help you decide should he invite you to his place)
I heard shouts of joy and screams of despair. I could just imagine grown men and women slapping their hands to their heads as their team did something silly. I know the feeling, I support Liverpool FC.
I love going through alleys, never know when I'll notice a derelict motorbike that I can make an offer on if I wasn't in therapy (insert awkward laugh) I like to look at back yard garden plots that are being slowly readied during our Pacific West Coast winter. I sigh when I see cars under carports thick with dust and cat footprints. These machines have been long forgotten I fear. I once saw an early 50's Mercedes that the owner couldn't afford to buy insurance for. There it sat...crying, invisible.
I walked past a funky old house typical of older Eastvan yesteryears that foreign owners hadn't bought, knocked down and built monoliths on the space yet. (oh yes I did) and there was a party going on.
Looking into the yard, the 30-something tenants (educated guess judging by the group) had fastened a tarp to the back of the house, set up tables and mounted a big screen tv to the outer wall. SuperBowl party, COMMUNITY! Looked like there was lots of food and plenty of beer! One lone couple nearest me shared a lingering kiss. The guy was looking deeply into her eyes. I wanted to run over and give him the thumbs up! Funny...don't recall what she looked like? I was taken by the sight of him seeing her I guess.
Eye contact is paramount! The eyes can't lie. I recall these 2 ponces that hung around girls from a group home I once worked at decades ago, they couldn't look me in the eye. I digress...
Buddy had it going on, the tv was invisible, his girl wasn't. (caveat: he WAS holding a beer, brother has to incorporate his loves)
Suddenly, off in the distance,  I heard some very anger-inspired shouting. A man was in quite a state. To me, it sounded like a drunken, violent soliloquy more than an argument...alas it was dark out, best to check to be certain no woman was in peril. (What am I? Writing a novel? Bit wordy)
Focus Spoke...
I spotted the brother walking down the street flailing his arms and raging! He had a can in hand, could have been a Redbull but I suspect more like a can of courage. He was alone so I calmed down that part of my chivalrous brain. No damsel to rescue.
 My mind however, flashed back to that Lover. SEEING his girl, holding a beer...also a can of courage? You decide. Make it your story.
Anyway...gosh I go on rabbit trails yeah?
This is when I need adult supervision because part of me wants to go tease the shouting nutcase but most of me just wants to hear his story. The battle rages within me. To love or mock, that is the question.
Anyway, it seemed to me that he was on a mission of ill will. P'raps I could spoil it for him if anyone else was in danger. I followed at a distance still peering in windows and smiling.
Side note...simple observation in Eastvan. Asian families seem to have window dressings drawn whilst other cultures do not. Is that a thing? I'll have to ask a couple friends I see each day. Mental note.
Back to anger man...he was shouting very loudly about his "fucking cable provider" and something about how he knew that he was being monitored online. He was shouting how he knew that "you bastards were watching me". I deduced from his paranoia that he was probably visiting Canada from slightly South because Canadians have yet to realize that our Federal Government is monitoring us. Hasn't really sunk in here yet. Maybe buddy was from Seattle?
Well, rage boy was very nearly about to cross the border of Vancouver where East becomes West and I really don't like going there, so I kinda hoped that he'd hurry and attempt to hatch his plan before he crossed Ontario St. He continued to rage, made no threatening comments to people or showed any harmfull actions towards himself so, since I was suddenly bored, I turned back East. He wasn't dangerously drunk, he'll be fine.
I turned just in time...West vs's a thing you know. Look it up!
Wondering up an alley I wandered, (see what I did there?) It was just gone 8:30 and it occurred to me that I hadn't seen a kid or teenager outdoors in the entire time that I was out! Where were they? What were they doing? Surely they weren't all hanging out at Superbowl parties were they?
I began to think about it, looking back on recent walkabouts, I rarely see young people outdoors. I'm outdoors everyday and damned near ever night. These wide, paved alleys are vacant!
Were they all indoors on devices, computers or staring at tv screens? What have we allowed to happen? When did that start?
Members of Think Tanks scratch their heads and spend bags of cash trying to figure out why we keep seeing an increase of childhood diabetes, obesity, rudeness, apathy and shite attitudes in too many young people. Lack of community maybe? Used to be that people would say that Homeschooled kids were social idiots...I'm thinking it's turned to Tech Twits being the social outcasts by choice!
Alas, we're paving the way aren't we? Most parents don't send the kids outdoors anymore do they? Couldn't be bothered to put in the effort, frightened to pull the plug or block the Wifi.
It DOES take a fair bit of effort to drag kids from the group home out into the great outdoors. To be fair, I do cut them a wee bit of slack though. At present, 3 teen girls are heroin addicts, but I STILL manage in most cases to get them outdoors. It takes about an hour of skilled effort on my part but damn it, its worth it in my mind!!. Funny thing is, they LOVE it when we go!
Forgive me...this rant has gone rather sideways.
I guess the title of the post was a clue. These alleys are too quiet. They weren't in our day were they?