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 off...you 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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for telling this story. And especially thank you for listening to hers.