things only I see

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things only I see

Post  thanatos on Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:59 am

Thought I would share with you somethings about those I come across from time to time. Some I see only once and wonder forever about, while others are becoming friends who know me by name. Some you have already heard about in previous postings and blogs.
To start there is William. He is a late fifties (or later) man who lives in a small space under a overpass. His space is maybe half the size of a refridgerator in lenth and width with possibly a couple of feet head room. Entry is through a small opening between the steel support and the concrete.
I keep a special eye on William. I beleive he has some minor mental condition based on how he acts towards outsiders. He is very defensive and paranoid but has gone from "You dont need to know my name." to "My name is William" when he saw me outside his space. He has always said thank you to the bundles.
Then there is Vince. A young native man I find regularly on a loading dock under the lights from the door. He is often shaking off the effects of drugs and is startled easily. He has always thanked me for the bundles and has now started to chat with me for a bit. I will always offer a willing ear.
'Dances' is another native youth who was staked out for some time on a corner downtown. I saw him several times and he would talk more to me each time he saw me. The last time I saw him I explained about why I was doing this. He said I had given him much to think about.
I am hoping he may have got himself together and gone home. Only time may tell.
There are those in a group that we run into from time to time. They know me and always chat and tell me whats going on around them. There are four to six who bundle together for security. I find them in well lighted doorways on main streets. They have been on the street for five to seven years between them.
Five to seven years.
I have offered my bundles and been told that there was someone in the next laneway or space that could use it more. I see that they share among themselves and try to help each other out. And there are those who stay off and by themselves and somehow survive as well.
I see the dealers as well. Those that feed the dealers and those who feed in turn off of them. They come and go, often violently. Some stay. Moving up the ladder by attrition further up. I see the reports on the news and often have seen the body as well. They strike with a savage surgical precision avoiding injurying bystanders. They want to keep it with in their own sphere of influence and hopes the public turns blaze' to the whole thing.
I don't see the tourist or those who would want a picture with me. I see those who need help. Need a friend. The addicted, the alone, the far too often forgotten.
This is what I see here in Vancouver.

He sits on the corner of Main street and Terminal in front of the skytrain station, his few belongings in a pile beside him, begging change from those who pass by. His name is Greg and he lives a couple of blocks away in a laneway. He's lucky he says because he found a old air mattress to use as cover and a ground sheet.
He tries to stay away from the downtown eastside becuase of all the "duggies and drinkers" there. He dosnt need or want that.
He has been on the street for four years now because of a drinking problem. He wont go to a shelter because the smell of alcohol from the other residents could trigger him drinking again. He dosent want that again.
He is in his early fifties and comes origanally from the east coast. He cant read or write but can work with his hands. He was part of the crew that built the CN tower in Toronto years ago.
He talks about when he was just a teenager how him and some friends built a monster truck in their barn out of old cars and tractors. After finishing they found they couldnt drive it through the doors. A couple of months later the barn got a new door.
Lady Catacomb encountered him today while waiting at the corner. He was polite, and like many on the street, grateful just to have somebody to talk with. She gave him some money to buy a hot chocolate and watched as afterwards he shared his meager coins with another homeless man to buy him a coffee.
He is like many, his story really no different than others who call the streets of Vancouver their home. They end up here for one reason or another, expecting it to be a short stay until they get themselves together.
Four years.

I will try to find him over the next couple of days while I am on my days off from work and give him one of my bundles. Lady Catacomb told him a bit about me and I think he is looking forward to clean socks. (He told her keeping your feet dry and clean was important.)
He is one of a growing number of people with no place, no home, and often little or no hope. All I can do is try to help keep him alive for at least one day, and let him know he has a friend out there.

I was out early today looking for the man that Lady Catacomb had befriended. couldnt find him in the laneways so I decided to get to him this afternoon when he is at his corner.
I dropped Lady Catacomb off downtown and made my way home. I always vary my trip home so I can't be followed and decided to swing by Oceanview Cemetary. (figures don't it?)
Passing the end of the cemetary I saw what looked like somebody pearched on teh hedge/fence along the side. I turned up the street to find a little old lady, holding a portable oxygen tank balencing on the fence that runs inside the hedge.

I threw on my mask and gloves and got out of the car. I could see her move the air mask to speak. "help me." she weezed. "There's a mad dog after me." no sooner had she said that then a coyote wriggled through the hedge and made a run for me.
Coyotes are a big problem here in the city now. They have become quite bold and not afraid of people. They have attacked several children and elderly adults in the last few months.
It got close before trying to leap at me. I gave it a kick that caught it just behind the jaw and flipped it right over. it landed on the ground and twitched a bit and then was still.
That's one coyote that wont bother anyone again!
I helped the lady down, she was very small and frail. how she got up ther I dont know. fear can do that I guess. She didnt want a ambulance or police, she just wanted to go home. I offered to walk her home, just across the road.
She told me she was 96 and had her 'friend' the oxygen tank for the last six months. she wasnt sure how she got up there either but seemed to be none the worse.
I walked her to the door of her building, she hadnt mentioned that I was in a mask and quite strange looking.
at the door she thanked me, she had been there a while, and said she was sorry she didnt have any candy yet for Halloween, but she like my costume and if I came back then she would have some for me.
then she gave me a kiss on the mask and thanked me again before entering her building.

I love this gig!!!

it's six am and I sit here covered in sweat as I type this,
this is a bad dream I had. it is a bad memory of a very real event. I have many of these.

It was a typical day in Saigon, hot and noisy. we had a small apartment where we would hang out and drink beer and smoke some pot and just relax and try to forget where we were for a short time.
I decided to walk over to the bar on the corner to get another six pack and some candy bars. Oh Henrys I remember. I was dressed in civies with my pistol tucked into the wasteband of my slacks.
you could hear the sound of choppers overhead on their way in country. the noise of traffic and people just seem to hang in the hot humid air as I left the store and started walking back.
suddenly all I could hear was the sound of a big M-60 opening up real close. too close. I looked up and there were five or six young Viet namese up on the corner of a building fireing down into the street.
I only had my handgun. no flack jacket or rifle. there was nothing I could do lbut run for cover. I can still remember how pathetically slow I felt trying to get across the street and behind a large tree. from there I moved behind a car that was blocking the street. I couldnt see the driver but blood was dripping out from the bottom of the door on to the hot asphalt of the road.
I made the doorway to the apartment building and back to our place. I had dropped the beet but had kept a hold of those bars. they had melted in the heat.
we sat there for over an hour while the shooting kept up outside. it stopped finally when somebody took a grenade launcher and ended the battle.
after it stopped I went outside to see what was happening. the guys on the roof were just some guys who had stolen some guns, gotten high on heroin and decided to start shooting at people in the street.
nine dead. seven wounded. and I still had the paper bag of melted candy bars in my hand.

I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm not looking for comments.

I just thought I would tell you this. it's one of the reasons I am here.
thanks for reading it. now go back to your lives in this world and think about this now and then. it helps sometimes to share with your friends.

a small bit of perspective on reality.

Posts : 127
Join date : 2010-03-21
Location : Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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