Tuesday, October 16, 2007
this shit is REALLY popular around here.
east vancouver is a fucked up place. the gutters in my neighborhood are littered with a charming combination of used needles, used condoms and chicken parts, but don't get me wrong, i LOVE my neighborhood. even though the streets are (sometimes literally) crawling with fucked up people, i never really feel unsafe here and i think a lot of people genuinely feel that the area belongs as much to the users and homeless as it does to anyone else.
vancouver is the warmest spot in canada year round which means that people who live on the street won't freeze to death in the winter, so naturally it is the only place to be this time of year if you don't have a home. add to that a relatively relaxed and progressive attitude towards drug use and prostitution and you get this sort of mad max beyond the thunderdome post-apocalyptic zombie town vibe on the downtown eastside. as you can imagine, it's easy to become desensitized to it from seeing truly fucked up shit all the time. i don't even blink anymore when i see somebody smoking crack in broad daylight on the sidewalk in front of an elementary school, or a woman writhing on the pavement and tearing her clothes off with a needle hanging out of her arm. i realize this sounds hellish.
i work right across the street from one of the busiest pick-up corners in the city and the busiest time of day is between 7 and 9 a.m. it's like a starbucks drive-thru. who are these fucking dudes? anyway, a lot of the women are obvious users and interestingly, most of them seem to operate without pimps. and i think they work cheap, these are not julia roberts in pretty woman type prostitutes. there is this one woman who i see almost every day who has a kind of extreme working style. as people drive up to the stop sign at the corner, she walks out into the street and tries to get into their cars whether they like it or not. today she got into one of my co-workers cars as he was returning from his lunch break and refused to get out. he tried explaining to her that he didn't want a date and that he needed to get back to work and finally persuaded her to get out of the car by giving her a pair of sunglasses. he came back inside laughing with a sort of c'est la vie attitude towards the encounter. this kind of thing happens all the time, what a place!