Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 milligrams of defogger

So I've been on Citalopram for about 2 and a half months because I was professionally diagnosed as depressed.
I was also in therapy...catch 22. Therapist says get drugs to "help" whatever that meant and the Dr. (who is so NOT about drugs) says "go see a therapist."
Me? I just didn't want to be sad anymore. I wanted to start calling on friends again, I wanted to go hang out with people...I wanted to stop crying when no one was looking!
I liken the drug effect to that of your windshield defogger. The windshield is all foggy but you're pretty sure of where you're going. If the familiar route hasn't had any surprise detours, or if a child/car doesn't suddenly appear in front of you, you SHOULD be able to navigate the journey ok.'re at a disadvantage!
Citalopram, for me, is the defogger. It allows me to make a decision or an action based on accurate information instead of foggy, cloudy or obscured surroundings so to speak.
My friend whom I've nicknamed The Undertaker with his joyous permission, is on a 4 mind bending drug cocktail to try and achieve the same result as mine.
His SRO basement room is 12 foot by 6 foot. He stands about 6 foot 5 and because he's in the basement, he shares with the building's water pipes that hang menacingly from his ceiling. He tells me that he feels crowded.
No shit!
His view from the only window is of a dumpster in the alley. He has long given up trying to count how many times each night the lid crashes down as humans scavenge. That he can handle he says. It's the not too uncommon verbal arguments that erupt as these humans argue boisterously over who gets what from the bin if 2 arrive at once.
All this can be yours for $525 a month.
He used to have between 40 and 60+ seizures a day and "they" don't know why. His head has been cracked into by surgeons more times than I've had oysters, lobster and caviar combined. He thinks 12.
Suddenly about 2 years ago, the seizures stopped. He's a month older than me...and English.
The Undertaker ( you'd agree if you saw him) is one of the most well read, intelligent people I've met in a long long while.
His cognitive library of literature and history is impressive! Name a film and he can tell you who was in it and when it was made. He's not often wrong...I challenge him with google. He has no computer or phone.
His bed, in the middle of his spacious room, has FULL bookcases immediately to the left, right and acting as a headboard. He calls it his cocoon.
Behind these...against the walls, he has book cases.
Sorry...British brain. Book SHELVES.
You may recall that this is the same man I took for a "kiss me quick" lunch at A&W a while back and afterwards he went on and on about it being such a rare treat. Today I took him to a roadside burger joint. The man almost needed a cigarette after his 1950's style burger and fries.
If you saw my friend lurking around the DTES of Vancouver, you just might clutch your purse or draw your child nearer...hell, you may even cross the street.
That would be a shame though. He'd enrich your life in about 6 minutes if you'd let him.
I gave him a mitt full of tokens from Save On Meats in Vancouver. You trade the tokens for a breakfast sandwich. Some Vancouver cops hand them out as do we and many other people. (go online to purchase some, you needn't be in Vancouver, they'll be given to responsible people who in turn will hand them out to hurting humans)
Anyway, The Undertaker stood outside the joint eating a sandwich and bought other hurting people a bite. Imagine that huh? This guy has to take meals at local churches and shelters because his money is spent on rent and he STILL shares his lottery winnings!
Tell me again why I moan?
Let me go on a tangent if I may. Don't you DARE tell me about that bullshit about everyone having the same chances or how everything will work out if you just believe that it will. You NEVER hear anyone say that unless they have work, shelter, money, family ,friends and sanity. I have yet to meet a sex trade worker operating in her dream field or a wealthy junkie. THERE IS NO LEVEL PLAYING FIELD!
End of rant, comments welcome. Don't be shy!
You recall my friend Carol? She told me that her mother always told her that 2 wrongs don't make a right among other things. She too lives in a nasty SRO hotel. She was confronted with 3 girls shooting dope in her stairwell. They told her to piss off as she tried to chat with them...anyway,  I'll paint a picture of her:
She's 51 and the gods of good looks stuck her cruelly between Geddy Lee and Bryan Adams with a touch of Steve Perry as remorse. I really like her...don't get me wrong.
Her teeth are goblinesque and her hangs defiantly from a sweat stained baseball cap of some crappy beer.
I'm not sure if she has a figure because her pants are 3 sizes too big and her t-shirts would fit a football player. Bless her hard working, bottle picking self, her hands look as if they've been out at Sea pulling in lobster traps. You get the idea yeah?
I really like her! Love spending time with her! She tells so many stories, the good, bad, horrific and joyous.
Like the time she stopped near a coffee shop to pick up a few butts and a couple going in asked her to mind their dogs. She likes dogs. She told me so.
When the couple came out, they handed her a large coffee, a pastry and bid her fare well. Carol told me "I couldn't believe how kind they were, they didn't have to do that."
Or the time a guy on a Harley shouted at her from curb side. COME HERE! She went over and he said that he had noticed her many mornings looking through trash cans. This was his way to work. He handed her a $100 bill.
She said that she started was the week before Christmas 2013.
Then there was the woman that asked her for $5 and when she said that she didn't have it, the woman beat her breaking her nose and 2 teeth. This is when Carol told me that 2 wrongs don't make a right.
So...I have a job, family, home, friends, support and a few coppers to rub together...I'm on citalopram for however long "they" think I'll need to be and I'm still looked up to in spite of many small mistakes and few grievance ones.
But maybe, just maybe...if I didn't have all of that support, many people wouldn't look at me on the street either.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Haunting Blue Eyes

I passed a fellow begging coins as I walked along side the street earlier today. He sat quietly, cross legged on the pavement and bid me good day. His eyes were blue, clear and healthy looking, which was odd considering this fellow's obvious lack of means.He didn't ask for money yet held a cup containing coins.
His thick ruddy beard was the stuff of envy had he lived in Gastown, Yaletown or perhaps regularly haunted a craft beer house.
No...evidently he lived nowhere and everywhere. You see, his things were piled against the outer wall of a Tim Hortons across from him. A bike, crutches, boot cast, 2 pillows, sleeping bag, a few loaves of bread and a bindle of, I can only guess, more seasonal clothes.
He wore a hoody and a thick full length coat. You know the Jethro Tull album Aqualung, HIS younger son perhaps.
I don't carry change. In all honesty, I don't have spare change. My rent is more than 1 paycheque.
I wondered if he had opinions of me as a bid him hello while wearing my thrift store clothes vs the people who ignored him in their Hunter boots, manicured fingers weighed down with lattes.
I know I have my own prejudices, but did he at that moment? Does he?
What does he think? Does he even bother to think anymore? What about?
I said hello because I noticed him yet offered no drink or crust. Many others didn't notice him so they couldn't offer drink and crust.
Who's the villain? To be fair, I DID have an appointment. I'm always going or coming...I simply haven't the time....
If you know me, you'd agree that the truth is that if I was able to carry a sack of coins around, it would be empty before the day's end, or night, and I'd have many stories to post here. Unfortunately, I haven't the means. I do get the stories though.
I think it fair to say and indeed the proof has been in the pudding, that simple conversation and acknowledgement of their existence is often worth more than a few spare coins to these lowly creatures.
Ray, Steve, Gerrald, Paul, Frank who is John, and John have NEVER asked me for money, not once. In all honesty, I'm not sure I'd know what to tell them should they ask. I don't carry cash because I love giving big banks that extra money hidden from merchants in debit transactions? If I carried money I'd only spend it.
It's a bit delicate really isn't it? It's not unlike the Busker playing music outside the liquor store or Skytrain station. It's not like you're out for the day and decide to hang out at Stations or liquor stores... NO, you're busy! Do you toss a few coins in the hat out of pity, appreciation, spite or because the Canadian Government continues to make cash heavily inconvenient so its easier to part with and what the hell, the musician is earning it...maybe you dig music?
That panhandler back there...why doesn't he just get a job! Why doesn't he contribute to the system? Why should he be allowed to live off the backs of us? I have Rights! I have the Right to walk out of the drug store with a bag of items that I just paid for and shouldn't have to feel guilty walking past this beggar! I shouldn't have to be made to try and look as if I'm occupied with something else so my eyes don't have to meet his clear, healthy, blue eyes.
I have the Right to believe that he simply does not exist.
Indeed you do. This is Canada. We all have Freedoms and Rights. We don't have to chant about it in some State mantra in order to never forget how great our Country is like we're trying to convince ourselves that we ARE free when in fact we're not.
No, you ARE free! This is Canada!
You also have the freedom to ask Blue Eyes if he'd like a drink or some food and if he'd mind if you sat and took lunch with him in order to hear what was on his heart.
In so doing, you may save a life. In the very least, I'll smile when you tell me about it.
Tis true, some of these people have decided to opt out. That takes guts! Others go off into the woods and we don't hear from them or see them again. Some go to India and become followers of a belief system...never hear from them or see them again either. Indeed, some go to college, then university, then join a firm, climb the ladder, make it to the top and we rarely hear from them again either.
Many choices under the Stratosphere really, never a level starting field though.
The way we've all come to rely on money and Corporations is rather unsettling. Consider some other Countries...private monies have simply disappeared. In fact, I never SEE a paycheque, it's all pretend. It's all out of my control.
As an example, many people are thrilled about these recent lower gasoline prices! The other side of that coin is that some people, unfortunately, could be about to lose their homes! Still others are being "forced" to lower their higher standard of living. So many points of view.
All in all, I'm thinking that its quite possible that we all should start being nicer to Blue Eyes even if only because YOU just might find yourself in need of a spot beside him on the pavement.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"not all Binners are junkies"

I asked a woman who sometimes volunteers at work to help me in the truck on my route today. Change of scenery, nice to get out, fresh air, I'll buy you a coffee and lunch blah blah blah.
Carol was thrilled to come along.
I found it impossible to estimate Carol's age and you can't really ask a woman can you? You see, Carol has had a rough go of it. Carol dumpster dives twice a week to supplement her welfare cheque because our Todays BC Liberals are so damned out of touch with the non-rich of our Province.
I digress...
If Carol and her "old man" have a really good day, they can scrounge $85 recycling what WE toss away. Hard work to be sure, and people look down on Binners.
Carol doesn't do drugs, drinks rarely and never cusses. I covet her temperament and her sense of ha ha is contagious.
Carol smokes cigarettes when she can afford them ($3 a pack at Carrall and Hastings) and is dependable.
Carol got assaulted a while ago. A woman asked her for $10 which she didn't have. The woman didn't believe her so she broke her nose with a heavy brass key chain. Carol didn't hit the smaller woman because her mother taught her "that 2 wrongs don't make a right." The police asked her to press assault charges, enough blood for a cruiser to light up and pull in apparently, but as Carol puts it "it's safer to be a coward than a snitch down here" Yup, Vancouver's Down Town East Side, Canada's poorest postal code.
So back to binning...or bottle picking, or dumpster diving as its called.
It's really quite amazing what we throw away. Mostly out of boredom or perhaps because it isn't the Latest and Greatest of whatever and what if friend's or colleagues saw...
What device do you own? What car? How many shoes, watches, rings or motorbikes do you have?
I have 6 coats, 5 pairs of shoes/boots. Sobering really.
I've seen Carol about 30 times over the last year. To my observation, she has 2 ill-fitting pairs of pants.
I had Carol laughing all day, I had her smiling ear to ear, we took a 20 minute break up Burnaby Mountain so she could see above the concrete jungle of her World. She refused lunch but happily took a chocolate, almond encrusted croissant. It was a pleasure watching and listening to her eat it. I teased her that I thought that she may need a cigarette after and asked if they wanted to be alone...
She called me a brat. Strong language!
Carol and her old man live in a SRO hotel. This morning when she left, 3 young women were shooting up on the landing near the front entrance. She looked at them and suggested they go elsewhere. She was told see, it was warm in the stairwell. Carol had to agree.
She couldn't recall if she had locked her door. She just got a coffee maker this week from the pawn shop.
I gave Carol a pack of smokes I found with my buddy O, she was thankful.
I got Carol a coffee at 7-11 and she went on and on about how it was better than McDonald's coffee and WAY better than the free stuff at a place along skid row. She mentioned however how much she appreciated that free coffee on cold mornings.
Well, I'm thinking about a hottish bath, p'raps a movie with a beer and a few snacks, then a good sleep in my warm bed.
Dream of the good things, the abundant things, the security you have. P'raps I'll see you there.
Sweet dreams.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sometimes a human is reduced to black smoke.

I saw John today. He didn't see me though, nor did we talk. Damned shame...I like John. Remember John?
I recognised his wool toque and dilapidated 2-wheeled cage grocery cart as he ran across the busy street not unlike a Sasquatch to grab the oncoming Burnaby bus. I was sure that the black plastic bag in his cart was the same one I saw him with 9 months ago...reuse!
He somehow had time to fluidly check the trash can before the bus arrive. He's a man on a mission to be sure. I watched the bus pass him by. His head dropped down.
That's a professional driver with Translink who's making $30 an hour with benefits fit for a King's Queen. His union must be proud!
What a pitiful human! I NEVER passed up people when I drove bus for 11 months in Vancouver.
Water under the bridge.
Today was a down day for me. It was as if I was asleep while driving you know? That bloody video playing over and over with my voice giving commentary. All the lies were believable today. Nothing good. Lots of it true.
Live and learn they say.
The reason I mention John is because he has mental health issues and that bus should have stopped. He's a threat to no one. He talks quite a bit, but it's never as annoying as some tit on his phone talking about his week end escapades ( read...lies) or the dizzy Mall Dolly talking about MAC make-overs.
To each his own I fear.
A guy tried to sell me some Versace perfume the other day. I didn't tell you about that. He wanted $10 for it. It looked legit but what do I know from Versace? I had some money in my pocket, I should have parted with it and let him keep his toilet water. I'll see him again.
He lives in his van. I give him food often.
I drive along a section of Burrard St. every day. Tiffany and Co is one store there, the others are like it. Coach etc. I fear I couldn't afford to use their toilets. (I should ask. Take a memo)
Anyway, although ignorant, I'm certain the prices for the trinkets within are astonishing! I guess the trinkets are too should you go in for that stuff.
Today, I saw a group of young Asian women with name brand bags over their arms. Guess what? They didn't look happy at all. Each one of them looked bored to tears like they were dumped there to shop while their partners went off golfing or to a meeting or something.
I tell you. My daily contrast is mind numbing.
The reason I mention John, Clayton (in the van) and the bored Asian women is to try and draw some meaning out of humans that will probably never meet.
The reason I mention them at all?
I came home tonight. We live near a large graveyard that offers burial and cremation.
As I rode up the street on my motorbike, I noticed a plume of black smoke. At first I thought it must be a car or garage on fire.
Nope. Someone chose cremation.
You see...if we take away all the shiny trinkets form one of Vancouver's most expensive stores, if we peel off a dirty wool toque, if we remove a man from his the end of their days, all they are at best is ashes and memories.
All WE are is ashes and memories.
Don't hoard stuff. Instead, make people smile and feel special. I'll wager people will have fond memories of you.
Sleep well. Don't forget to push the OFF button on the video.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Unintentional neurocranium slam dancing

Who doesn't experience incessant mind videos and thoughts at night that interrupt the delicious heady place between cognizant reality and inattentive peacefulness?  It's that coveted spot right before the Sandman's dust caresses your face which sends you to the land of slumber.
The place in which its decided whether you'll rest or thrash about with altered heart rate.
Toss your personal demons in this spot, its where they wait to pounce from the cold shadows if you're not quite tired enough to drop off. Maybe you answered a few last texts on your device or you're planning the stress of tomorrow? Perhaps that scenario you wish you could forgive or forget creeps in here. How about believing the trash talk you give yourself? You know, spew a few lies and buy them?
Never the less you're robbed of the very fuel your brain needs to function...if ONLY you could halt its function NOW! What a ridiculous conundrum.
Many therapists have taken pen to paper...I mean, fingers to keyboard, to offer us all kinds of solutions to this pain in the pillow!
Sex, a nip of brandy, warm milk, read a light book, hot tea, massage, weed, hot bath, open a window, call the cat, TURN OFF YOUR DEVICE, hypnosis, meditation, prayer, narcotics etc etc.
My demon waits...she's patient. Often I get about 3 hours in the land of drool and I wake spastically with a ridiculous thought thrashing about my brain like a Skinhead on a dance floor flailing to 70's OI OI OI music.
Stupid thoughts, irrational fears and a constant whisper telling me what a failure I am. Isn't it insane how we listen?
This is MY blog, so I'll share a few of my private rants. Please hear me, my sharing this stuff in NO WAY is a cry for your help. I'm doing really well these days. Honestly!
So, some of my irrational thoughts or realities that really don't matter but keep me awake:
I'm 51 and we live paycheque to paycheque whilst renting making me an utter failure.
We're always behind on bills which is my fault.
I'm out of condition and its tricky to exercise due to chronic pain. (excuses)
I suffer chronic pain so its tricky to take exercise. (excuses)
I just might be a stone's throw from nuttier than a fruitcake. (aren't we all?)
I'm frightened that I may have high blood pressure. (GET IT CHECKED YA TIT)
I believe I don't mentally stimulate my favourite human enough.
I may not be a good enough lover. (men are stupid)
Who does she dream about?
So...what do YOU do to stifle the lies? To lower your pulse? To cast the demon back into darkness?
Are you a believer of the twilight bullshit that you feed yourself? Do you forget the truth the same way I do?
Here's some secrets I'll tell you for free:
If you're like me, you're the author of your lies. You're the critic. You're the scoundrel.
So here's the plan. Go to the mirror, look deep into your eyes, breathe...and say out loud. "I love you"
Sleep tight.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The energetic passion of ignorant hatred

My favourite colour is green. My favourite shade of green is the full, deep colour of holly leaves. You can't refute this claim, it is the truth.
The BEST colour is green! THIS you may challenge because it's not an accurate statement. I'm lead to believe, albeit with astonishment, that some of you have a different colour preference. Oh're wrong and I'll leave it at that.
Our World is shaking violently with horrific atrocities that men and women commit against one another. Random terrorist attacks, brutal public floggings, inner city murders, rural crime, Government fraud and horrific murders carried out by World Leaders and uber-rich corporate heads.
All of these are perpetuated by ignorance, fear, greed and hatred. AND our children are watching and learning!
You may shout WHAT OF RELIGION?
What occurred in France this week was NOT blessed by the Quran or any other "sacred" writings.
I'm not aware of any religion that promotes the above list. Most faith systems encourage quite the opposite. Things like loving the outcast, sharing what you have, live and let live etc.
Alas, humans muck things up.
Indeed this is fodder for  "coffee talk"  but really, I think I'm correct here.
Consider Vancouver's own Veronica Madore. She started the Facebook group called
Now I'm not about to suggest that she could carry out mass crimes against humanity, indeed I'm sure she hasn't the guts to hurt a fly.
But Veronica and I don't seem to share the same opinions on soup kitchens, homelessness, mental health issues, poverty, housing, get my drift. I'd LOVE a coffee with her.
All this to point out that we all have different loves and likes. Unique tapestries that make humanity so beautifully diverse and interesting.
But I'd love it in the words of Rodney King "if we could all just get along"
As I sit indoors listening to Neil Young and pecking this out on my computer, I wonder about the most Primitive Humans on this Earth (compared to my socioeconomic wealth) they seem to share.
I don't think murders and thievery occur within Indigenous Tribes in the far reaches of our Continents. Maybe I'm wrong?
Hatred takes energy. Love is difficult, Tolerance is tricky and forgiveness may be the greatest struggle mankind embarks upon. Vengeance is far too easy a copout. 
Where the hell did we go wrong?
We've lost our way.
Every single day, I watch people go out of their way to avoid people. Some in fact shared with me to what great lengths they actually go in order to avoid certain "types of people". We're all guilty of this, don't kid yourself. I'm not even able to stoop to grasp a stone let alone cast it.
I have a young friend with autism. I love him. We spend time together at least once the week. This past Wednesday I found a packet of cigarettes on the pavement. I picked it up...18 sticks inside. I told my young ward that I'd give the smokes to a fellow I know who has no money.
The boy looked confused but after lengthy discussion, he gave me permission to pass on the packet.
He was concerned about the man's health you see.
We've much to learn...and so much more to forget.
May your God go with you.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Once upon a time the dam was damned.

I had a friend in school. I'm going back 34 years now. Her name was Sherri and she was lovely. She carried about 40 pounds that she didn't want and was awkward. I really liked her (non romantic) but I don't think she believed me. I included her in my reindeer games and never didn't acknowledge her at school, the mall on the street or at a mental North Vancouver party. North Van was don't believe me? Dial the RCMP and quiz them about North Van in the 70-80's. We we're dangerous and out of hand far too often. Personally, I was "known to Police" and got jacked up about 4 times a week! Slept in the drunk tank most week ends. I was such a wash out! I'm much better now...
So Sherri. Nice girl, hell of an artist, charcoal and pencil mostly. She gave me a sketch of The Hermit from Led Zeppelin 4 that was brilliant. No idea what became of it, but I had it on my wall forever.
I remember a guy confided in me that he had had sex with Sherri at a party when he "couldn't score anything else" I won't tell you what I did to him many months later. Suffice it to say, he never did know why or what hit him. Funny, I don't recall his name.
Sherri eventually told me about it. She felt pretty good about the night. I guess he had a silver tongue. Maybe I should have chatted with her before I convicted him? Oh well.
When my life was mental (14-27 yrs old so daily?) I would often go up to Cleavland Dam to think, count crows, breathe and try and dull the nagging screams in my head. To this day, that's a sacred place for me.
Douglas Copeland writes about the area in his book Life After God, read it!
Harry took black and white pictures of me up there with his Konica Autoreflex T which I've recreated with my daughter 4 decades on.
I love the dam!
The first time I saw a huge murder of crows was up there. I bet there was 6 thousand Hitchcocks flying about!
So yeah, the place is sacred to me as I've illustrated.
Sherri killed herself up there.
I was 19 nearly 20 when I got the call. She had her journal and was sitting under a larger conifer dead when she was found. She ate a bottle of some kind of pills.
I didn't even know Sherri was sad.
I can still see her face, but I can't recall her voice. Hell, I don't even recall if I went to her funeral.
I was so pissed that she didn't tell me that she was sad.
I suffer depression! I have a few people that know key phrases for when I'm in trouble. The only snag is that I have to tell them unless they have the forthwith to randomly ask. (thank you Paula, Heather and Raina)
Major mental gymnastics when I go to the dam. How dare you take something sacred to me and defile it? FULL STOP!
Sherri is more important than a place on this planet....
Suicide is desperation. Suicide is the final pain relief. Often, suicide is seen as the only option.
I need you to notice your friends, your loved ones, your coworkers. You may be the hope that they are searching for.
Sherri is gone. I missed the clues. WE missed the clues...
If you flirt with suicidal ideology or feel overwhelmingly sad, breathe deep and then call me!

My ambivalent moments proceeding the toasting of bread in the morning.

I'm up at 5:30 on work mornings, 6 if I'm knackered or went to bed too late. (read 10pm) My routine doesn't vary too much. Coffee is a staple as is groping my wife's bum. I spend a bit of time looking at a few News feeds to see what I can weep or moan about. It's big big World out there and I like to keep in the know. Often however, I'm left downcast and discouraged. The evil men do!
Breakfast however is NOT something I really go in for. No idea why...never really have done. Save your time, I've heard all of the reasons regarding Pro breaky. As a friend would say "blah blah blah"
Once in a rare while however, I do cremate a few slices of bread and heap natural peanut butter on them, but not often. Usually I just stand there looking at the toaster through bleary eyes feel neither here nor there about the whole exercise. Too much effort I guess? Burn the toast, set off the alarms and then effing firemen arrive who park wherever the devil they like! (whole other story)
I digress
The other day I was waiting for my wife while she was busking with a friend at the Granville transit station. I wandered up and down Granville Mall looking at all the shops wondering how they survive. I guess I'm out of touch as a consumer. It all looked like over-priced options to me. What do I know though right?
Anyway...nothing has really changed along that strip since the 70's. There are still lots of young people huddled together in alcoves with dogs and instruments asking for change, doing drugs and being outspoken about The Man. They're outcasts, runaways, rude boys, misunderstood, unheard, arrogant and well...trying to Find themselves.
I married a former Granville Mall vagrant, theres hope. My hope is that they all find themselves quickly so they can gather they're smelly belongings and leave in order to make room for the next busload of sojourners from back East or the 'burbs outside of Vancouver.
I see these humans with about 5 decades in front of them and in my opinion, they're too cynical already and cop attitude if you don't throw a few coins into their hallowed chalice. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, no free bonus from me!
Play me a song, dance, juggle broken bottles, bare knuckle fight each other, recite slam poetry, stand on your heads, tell jokes or try and guess my weight! DO SOMETHING!
Sitting there copping a shit attitude whilst glaring at the parade of people who pass by, read your cardboard sign and could really care less about you should be your definitive clue. Unless of course, you're right and everybody really does suck!
I work hard for my meat and drink as do most people I know. Sure, there are times when people get behind the 8-ball and we help them if we can, but it isn't a constant pattern unless there are other underlying issues.
So yeah, no "spare change" for you!
Meanwhile, there was this scruffy man in his twilight years further up Granville near that manky porn shop that has been there for 30+ years to my knowledge. It seemed to me that he had all but given up on life. One of his legs had been taken away from him, his clothing was shite and he sported a ruddy beard that any Hipster would crave...his hair would make a Rastafarian jealous too.
His pathetic eyes told of a long, sad albeit mute story and his filthy 7-11 coffee cup that caught coins had me believe he recycled.
No ambivaLance (sic) here! I let my change slide off my hand into his cup. He just smiled. I wondered if he even knew where he was? I got the feeling that he didn't need a crust and a chat so I carried on back down Granville and passed the arrogant youth and glared back. Karma...I may end up working for one of those younguns one day.
Its funny isn't it? I'm ALWAYS chatting with crack addicts, drugged out kids in care, $10 sex trade workers, humans suffering mental health issues, pimps, drunks and alley rats but those kids sitting around doing bugger all get no time from me. I s'pose its another prejudice I have. Like those guys asking for coins along the median at red lights! PICK UP YOUR TRASH!!!!!!
Sorry, lost my focus. Who was I berating?
Oh yes...lazy entitled young people. Well...I'm done doing that. Its boring and costs too much energy.
So gentle reader, your application for this night's reading is easy...
The next time you notice someone sitting in the pissing rain asking for coins, ENGAGE THEM! Ask them if, when they were 5, was their dream job Addict asking for change or Whore trying to survive a nightmare?
You wanna buy them food instead of providing a means for their immediate escape (dope, booze...) then TAKE them into a $1.49 a slice pizza joint and sit with them. I've had some amazing chats in McDonalds, Tim Hortons, A&W and 7-11's.
Don't try and tell me that you're no good at it or that I'm a natural...if this resonates with you, DO IT! But be safe!!!!
Tell me about it. Tell me why you can't. Comment here or email me
Shoulders back, chin up, breathe deep WALK!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

losing track of time is easy while monitoring meth addicts

I'm at home on Saturday night...correction, Sunday morning, after a shift at the group home.
It's 12:28 am, I'm tired but my mind is not. The house was rocking with 5 kids alive and awake within their own nightmares of sorts.
My wife has treated me with some AMAZING local bitter that I never buy for myself. A royal treat if I may be so bold. Funny how a beer and blogging helps me wind down after a shift like this.
I won't tell you ages of the kids, names (obviously) or location of the'll never visit it so I'm free to blog about certain things I notice.
First off, we have underage girls that use methamphetamine and heroin who are between 15 and 40 pounds too light for their age and developmental moment. If I stop the video long enough from playing in my head where I'm hurting their dealers, I can look into their eyes and their faces and see healthy, beautiful girls. For some, its a long way in the past...
What amount of time can you afford me with these the adult "providers" of the drugs these kids crave?  Pretty sure I'd cross some Miss Manners etiquette if I had the chance. Another blog p'raps.
So how does Yours Truly engage kids? HUMOUR and FOOD and LISTENING.
I'm fortunate enough to have become a rather brilliant cook (horn toot) who can actually get kids eating Brussels Sprouts, tofu and VEGGIES with a mere acted-out faint to a kitchen floor. (truth) Getting kids to eat well, using a penal system or guilt is stupid! Doesn't work on you does it?
Try good, real food and humour. A few obviously fake tears while expressing the amount of love you've put into the cookery goes miles. KILOMETRES!! Sorry Canada.
Tonight, a girl was in cunvulsive sobs as she told me that her boyfriend had dumped her. ( 22 year age difference. Comment reserved) I sat at the foot of her bed longing to break rules by hugging her, comforting her, touching her hair and reminding her of her worth as a person single OR attached. Alas, NOT MY DAUGHTER so I kept my professional distance and descretely slipped a very large, sharp pair of scissors that I noticed on her bed in the dim light into my pocket. Theres history there...
I offered a walk in the pissing rain chatting followed by a hot chocolate wherever she wanted to go.
Since this was boy trouble, I thought best that my female co-worker take her. It went well.
I really wanted to go with her but sometimes I hear alarms ringing. I may be a fool, but I'm not foolish!
This is the point where I need you to get up, stretch and go chat with your kid. Avoid talking TO them, chat WITH them. They'll lead. Look for sad signs. You'd never guess from looking that many kids I deal with cut themselves, sell themselves, hate themselves...Give them an out please! LISTEN!
I know I'm rambling. I'd love nothing more than to sit with you over a shitty cup of coffee and share 20 years of working with hurting kids.
I don't have all the answers, I could learn from you if you'd teach me!
Later on, another depressed and angry girl asked me for a razor. Seems simple yeah? But I'm thinking at least 4 scenarios: She wants to harm herself. She wants to harm someone else. She wants to cut up drugs. She wants to shave.
Denying her that razor could nullify any trust other staff have built up.
So, I gave one to her but I sat on the stairs out of sight listening, wishing that I was feeding pigeons near Knight St. and King Edward with that Asian women...until I heard the shower start.
These kids ate and slept tonight. Full house! It was great interactive shift. Personally, in my life, I have nothing to moan about.
We all just long to be seen. Heard. Appreciated.