The Garden City Refugee

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Dizzy Trizzy and the Three Pillars of Society

August 1, 2021

A cyclist whizzes through a stop sign and speeds across traffic on a busy Ontario Street before turning north. Farther south are a pair of cyclists riding side by side. On a street where there is no bike lane. I can only shake my head in disbelief. I can at least be thankful that such sightings are indeed rare and not an everyday occurrence as they were in the SPRM, the republic I used to call home.

Left alongside of the road is this order sheet for tattoos. More people who wish to cover themselves in pretty flowers. I don’t get it, but as long as they’re paying for it with their own hard-earned money, it’s of no interest to me. Unlike the case of many of the community residents bums downtown who are covered from head to toe in tattoos, yet apparently don’t have the means to put a roof over their head and don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Self-serving ads like this from government agencies always bother me. Here, Metrolinx isn’t spending our money to tell us about new services they’re offering. They’re just wasting our money to pat themselves on the back. If only we had a conservative provincial government that would put a stop to such things. But as we’ve long since learned, even before the outbreak of war, the regime of Doug “Closed for Business” Ford isn’t a whole lot better than the spend-happy Liberal government it replaced. One can argue that it’s even worse. At least Kathleen Wynne didn’t campaign as a conservative who would go through the budget line by line and find all sorts of “efficiencies.”

As always, there is the usual contingent of characters in the core. One of them passes by me in front of the farmer’s market. Which is amazingly still allowed to open. No doubt those who are permitted entry must first get down on their hands and knees and give thanks to the Great Leader for his benevolence. The community resident bum, dressed in a flashy blue top, mumbles something unintelligible, then walks into the middle of the street and flashes his middle finger to no one in particular before moving on.

The power needed to run the stoves and burners to cook up the foul smells emanating from the market come from these portable generators, linked by a series of extension cords strung through the shrubbery and across the parking lot. One would think they would have plugs available inside in order to avoid such an obvious electrical hazard. After all, the farmer’s market is a staple of downtown and about the only reason the average person would dare venture into the core. This is hardly a one-time event.

Nearby are a couple of community residents bums in front of the library, close to where “Dizzy Trizzy” has made his or her mark. One of their buddies on a bike goes past them and remarks on how unusual it is to see them with shoes on. But they are not without smokes. Those who make up the underbelly of the core do have their priorities in order.

A couple of blocks away is a woman in her late 50s. She has her hand deep inside a garbage bin, fishing around for buried treasure. She pulls out a couple of empty plastic water bottles. After carefully examining them, she puts them back and moves on. She is disappointed over having struck out. From the looks of things, she won’t have much better luck elsewhere either as she is much too late. Trash is strewn all over downtown, much more than normal. Many of her fellow community residents bums have been tearing apart garbage bags and emptying receptacles. No bin has been left unturned. Anything of value has likely already been scavenged. It is like going to a garage sale in the late afternoon. Everything has already been picked over.

Over at the Salvation Army are three pillars of society slumped on the pavement. Two of them are fully dressed and are attired in what looks to be decent enough clothing, at least by the standards of the area. One, however, is not. His clothing is not soiled or tattered. It is missing. All he has on are a pair of dark blue undershorts. And he definitely needs more than that. Not because of the cool temperature. But because no one should have to endure the sight of him in his nearly naked glory. He has a pair of boobs that some women would pay good money for. And although he cannot be considered obese, he clearly has not been missing many meals. A classic case of indecent exposure.

Farther down the street is another community resident bum strolling down the sidewalk. He is smoking, of course. I doubt there’s a community resident bum who doesn’t. He stops at random intervals to swear at no one in particular, then moves on. As do I, having seen a lot more on the day than I really needed to.

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