The Garden City Refugee

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Good Friday in the Core

April 2, 2021

Highlights and lowlights from a stroll through the downtown core on Good Friday:

1. Free sleeping bag:

1a. The sight of a sleeping bag always brings back the memory of an eager young colleague who once brought a sleeping bag to work to prove his dedication to his new employer. Years later, long after I had left the company, I spotted Mr. Sleeping Bag on the street. Upon seeing me, he turned around and took off like a shot down the sidewalk. I know at least one reader will enjoy the flashback to the place he jokingly calls “Taco Bell.”

2. Carts full of goodies:


3. Off-color scenes in the core:


4. Free mattresses:

5. Free pizzas:

6. Spotted on James Street were two women who paid for the privilege of parking their cars. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it takes a special kind of gall to charge people to park downtown. They really ought to be paying you to go there.

7. Passing by me on St. Paul Street was a weird looking woman dressed in a very short skirt. It was -3 outside with a sharp wind.

8. Right across the street was a scruffy looking guy who was digging for buried treasure in a garbage can. Nothing really seemed to strike his fancy until he stumbled on a Styrofoam cup. He quickly downed the contents and kept rummaging before finally moving on.

9. Motoring down the sidewalk on Queenston Street was a guy on an ebike, who gave a wide berth to an obviously mentally disturbed woman draped in a towel who was walking backward and spitting. Needless to say, I made sure to give her a wide berth as well.

10. Farther down Queenston Street was a community resident bum who was standing at a corner barking like a dog, then he walked a half a block to the west and spent the next couple of minutes using both hands to repeatedly genuflect. I didn’t get the impression that he suddenly discovered religion.

11. Nearby, a half dozen community residents bums were swarming around the front steps of the Westminster United Church, presumably awaiting a free breakfast. One had a ghetto blaster, another was wearing a nearly-new cap with “YOLD” emblazoned on it and three or four of them were smoking. One of them with a long, straggly beard was swinging a Walmart bag likely containing all his worldly possessions while telling one of his buddies to “get the f--- out of here.”

11a. Three houses away from this scene was a property that recently sold for $450,000. There can be no greater indicator as to how out of whack the housing market is in this part of the world.

12. Just toss your trash out on the sidewalk . . .

Among the discarded items were a Corel software manual, a Christmas card and an empty bottle of isopropyl alcohol.

13. This cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road at least had the decency to stop for the red light a block behind him. Unlike what would have happened in the Old Country, where such a person would whizz right through it and swear at cars that didn’t get far enough out of his way. Spoken from a great deal of personal experience.

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