From 1979 to 1989 I was in my forties. It was a decade characterized by a lot of changes and a tour of America’s large and important cities. I used to say to myself and to some of those closest to me that if I hung around long enough, someone might pay attention. So here I am living down the end of 8 decades and this is what I have to say these days. So, thanx to all of you that actually read my ramblings and my opinionations for showing up on my behalf. Let it be that what you find here will offer you something off the beat a little and up your alley at the same time.
When I was in school, especially grade school (1945 to 1951), Thursday was the worst day of the week. I know now how much my lungs and my damaged colon affected my life. By Thursday, I was out of gas. I would moan and squawk, but my Mother’s directives sent me to school anyway. Once there, the unquenchable thirst in me to learn took over even though I was often just plain hurting.
In these days, when there are no gottas in my life, I watch the days unfold from quite another perspective: I’m a looky-loo out here watching the traffic on Hastings roll through as people go to work another day and then Friday.
Thursday, I took myself around the neighborhood to take care of my curiosity about what’s happening and to cruise some of my old streetways when I was in Powell Place.
One fine thing about Vancouver is that the city has made a heroic effort to green the streets and to green the neighborhoods. All up and down the metro streets there are trees. They have been here a while and so some of them tower and spread themselves up to 100 and more feet up to the upper windows of the older buildings in town. In this area there is a green park, Oppenheimer, where Carnegie has an outpost that offers classes and other kinds of support 6 days a week; where our homeless friends pitch tents for a day of so off and on all year to create a little home for themselves. I roll myself over there to come upon the final ten minutes of a drum circle led by an elder who is part of outreach. He is a middle-aged native man and the circle he leads is about half Indian and half young white people learning something of ceremony. This brings a fine flavor to our territory and a sense of our kinship with First Nations on whose unseded land we live. (unseded means that none of the land upon which the greater city is built was ever the subject of treaty or permission to occupy from our local nations. Some of this business has been the subject of reconciliation especially last year. i just thoroughly appreciate the drums, the beat and the spirit of friendship to be found here.
Moving right along over to the local thrift store. I go to cruise with the list I have stashed in the back of my mind. If I find anything, I debate with myself if it should be useful enough to pay the price asked. If it is not, I pass, It is pretty easy and over the years I have cultivated myself to choose only bargains. I shop a lot and buy only the best I can find and only a little of it.
Friday was a day to visit with my lady friend. I met her in shelter a little over two years ago and so there is something that we share of what it really means to live in these places. Belkin House had a population of about 50 ladies in a true emergency place with a 30-day limit, no drugs or alcohol. My lady and I did not share a room, but we did share some time mostly because we were rather similar and there was something to talk about. So now, we share some organic coffee up town in Gastown and just turn into our old lady kinds of life. We might have been in a service club or have met at a church picnic; that’s the kind of old dames that we be. I have learned to pass at dusk with a light behind me disguised as this disabled person. Keep reading and you will understand just how silly all that is.
And the evenings come down earlier. The big geodesic dome designed by our guy Bucky gets lit up just at dusk; the time now is about 8 o’clock and by equinox in about 3 weeks it will be closer to 7:30. The dome is about six or seven stories in height and there are cowboys that manage the light show that entertains us every night. These people do all kinds of fun stuff, red, white blue and green colored lights, moving lights flashing lights flowing lights and music on special occasions. From my window it is about a mile south, so I get to watch the array every night. Its one of the big tourist attractions in the town flanked by a whole phalanx of high rise buildings all of whom are taller than the big ball located at the end of False Creek. What an audience!
So now, the end of the work week has already sent our concierge home to her partner, our manager home to her sister and brought us our evening shift into the office downstairs. I have come in and shut the door. Then there came the creation of one of my favorite kinds of meals: shitake mushrooms and Yu Choy, a little coconut and soy sauce. Yum and ho hum: time for a movie.
Remember the Beetles movie Help: on the menu tonight: won’t you please, please help me!