The Garden City Refugee

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Discarded Bread in the Core

September 28, 2021

On the streets of the downtown core, there is a potpourri of discarded bread.


Not just here at Avis Corner, our city’s answer to Five Corners, but elsewhere, like here, near the bus station:

With so many haggard community residents bums roaming the streets, one wonders how such good food can be so cavalierly passed up. But beggars are indeed choosers in many cases. Beggars like this, for instance:

Right across from a convenience store is this sign. But I doubt it does much to slow milk sales there or anywhere else. In fact, it likely has the opposite effect.

Near the library, there is no street bread available, but still, there are plenty of other goodies available for the taking. Who can’t use a broken coat hanger? Or a toilet brush? It’s so tough to get the bowl clean sometimes.

In the middle of the pile is an empty pill bottle from a methadone prescription. After looking it up, I learned that methadone reduces symptoms for those addicted to heroin or other narcotics. I was shocked. I would never have thought there would be anyone among such upstanding members of our community who would be experiencing addiction problems. You never can tell, I guess.

Near the front door, there is a big new box for book returns. In my last visit, I noticed so many just dumping their books right by the door. So the city finally responds. But though the box is long overdue, I can understand the city’s reluctance. After all, I’m sure a lot more than books will get dumped in there.

Under the canopy is a party of about seven or eight packing up and ready to check out of the Library Hilton. As they gather their possessions together, one guy is busy wolfing down something in a Styrofoam bowl. Another guy wearing a Detroit Lions cap is drinking something. They all take inventory. They go through their garbage bag and check all the sleeping bags, towels and coats stuffed into their cart. But before they move on, one member of their party tosses this bottle in my general direction.

Perhaps there’s orange juice inside. Or maybe something else. Though it was a kind gesture on his part to provide me with some free refreshments, I opt to pass on it. So does the older guy pushing a cart down the sidewalk. His possessions are all wrapped up in a big towel. It’s getting chilly overnight these days, so it’s important to keep yourself and all your worldly possessions warm.

The scene is much the same over at the Montebello Hilton, where the overnight guests are also preparing to pack up and move on. They are spread out over the pavilion and the bandshell and some even took refuge in the locked storage area under the pavilion. They have a lot more possessions with them than the group at the library. Three pillows, a plastic tub full of goodies, two regular bikes and even an ebike.

Not far away is a restaurant with signs like these in their window. Obviously, the management doesn’t think it should be “manditory” to use a spell checker. Doesn’t matter how many times you print it, it’s still wrong.

Equally puzzling is their decision to paper the windows with other such notices along with life-size posters highlighting the decrees of People’s Commissar Ford. Kind of what they do in North Korea with the writings of Kim Il-sung. Except that in this case, they’re doing it to insist on their customers’ compliance with the same government that has spent the last year and a half doing everything possible to put restaurant owners like them out of business. It’s kind of like a chicken going to bat for Colonel Sanders.

I have much sympathy for small businesses which have been hit so hard by our governments during this war. But this one, not so much. As I’ve heard it said, you force me to show papers before dining at your establishment, I’ll stay home and prepare my own food instead. Let’s see which one of us survives. They need us much more than we need them.

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