I’m glad I’m not on the street. To be dependent on the kindness of strangers is contingent on strangers being kind.
The guy trying to sell a lighter to buy a piece of pizza one freezing night a few weeks back found no takers. I had no money, and those who did would not spare a toonie.
It made me think of Diego Rivera’s mural of Mexican comedian Mario Moreno as his character Cantinflas, a double-talking tramp depicted taking money from the rich with one hand and distributing it to the poor with the other.
Honest Ed would have bought the guy a piece of pizza. But beautiful Ed is with Cantinflas now, and the street is harder than ever.
There’s lots of those “don’t eat to see what it’s like to be hungry for 24 hours” charity funders.
Why not “go without a home for a day”? And no packing survival gear. And no money. Just a lighter.
I won’t be signing up. Getting locked out of my house for a night was enough. Fortunately, I was well dressed for wandering around in cold and snow.
I went down and found Buddy, who stayed at my place till I had to make him pack up his cart and go. I thought he might still have a key even though he’d said he’d gotten rid of it. I’d have gratefully forgiven him if he had one. But no. And just that day he got kicked out of his secret spot where he crashed after my place.
So I’m only locked out, while Buddy is camping in a snowbank. The worst is, when he was volunteering for the first time, someone stole the great sheepskin coat I gave him. He was up placing the star on the Christmas tree at a community centre when someone nicked his bag with the coat in it.
Buddy works sporadically – for good pay – but he misprioritizes his spending. He’s a lovely soul and a rare eccentric. I hope he is someplace not freezing tonight.
I saw the wild cats last night, Pretty and Poppy, a devoted pair who were left behind, deemed irredeemably feral, when their kittens were adopted. Generations of wild cats have grown up around my place. Their life on the street is harsh as anyone’s.I saw them the night after the fire that burned and hosed two-dozen or so of my neighbours out of their homes. The city sent a bus for the residents, and they went somewhere for shelter.
Now there’s a fire marshal’s notice up and a security guard preventing entry to the three-storey double building ranch of a rooming house.
A lot of the other neighbours would rather the ranch go away. I’m sure developers feel the same.One of the ranchers leapt from the burning building across a gap I’d never attempt, onto the roof next door. The residents had to leave most of their belongings behind. Who knows when they can come back?
If you were forced out of your home, would you have a place to go? For any length of time? Not sure I would. I’m lucky to have a key to worry about. A lot of people I’ve known have disappeared. Getting locked out for too long can be fatal.