can’t wait for the parade of lost souls

A close-up of a wet leaf taken by “Sophie” with a Canon Powershot A610,
from Editor’s Choice Macro Photo Gallery.

My Own Private Tokyo, by William Gibson

Nuit Blanche was one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever taken part in. I came out of it exhausted, but feeling newly born. Slumped at a table at the Gladstone Hotel, trying to pull up the blinds behind my eyes long enough to focus on a breakfast menu, I was as useless as a corpse at a dance party, yet feeling better about the world than I had in a very long time. Merciful hell, it was good to be home.

Being back in Vancouver is harsh. My daily bus-route takes me through the heart of Crackton, where junkies scream in the streets, collecting like politics destroyed, running into traffic, swearing for Jesus and mercy and junk. Used needles collect in the gutters and hide in the cracks of the sidewalk, shattered plastic a lot like the people, waiting for someone to care enough to pick them up. There are always police cars, as persistent as the obscene graffiti and greasy breath of the people who cage rides on the bus, bags of found cans and bottles slung over their shoulders, teeth missing, spider prints of tracks inside their arms. Before I left, I was used to it, but now, having spent a few weeks in places more civilized, where such ghettos are unheard of, it’s grating at me again, like it used to years ago, before I became acclimatized.

7 things you thought you could recycle, but can’t.

As a result, I can feel myself hiding, taking refuge in my apartment and the changes within it as we prepare for David moving in to replace Karen, who’s moving out to be with her boyfriend too. Narratives converging. We spent most of Monday moving in nine bookshelves bought on Craigslist that we’re going to use to convert Karen’s bedroom into a library for our fourty boxes of books. I know it’s not quite escapism, we’re doing something useful, staying in, but that’s not what it feels like as I consider my morning commute to work through the blown out neighborhood that abuts the downtown.

Men with tangled beards, muttering about tangled affairs, clawing at their stomachs as drug cravings tear at their insides. Women in miniskirts, scarred down both sides, prostitutes who look like they’ve survived explosions, who might have been only thirty once, maybe even just last year. Children dragged behind single mothers in lycra and t-shirts, fed sugar water and kraft dinner, skin pocked with malnutrition because the school system doesn’t care enough to feed them when the parents can’t afford to. Cat fighting in the alleys, pushers and johns, addicts and the crippled that our health care system left behind. (There’s even an entire genre of YouTube videos which involve semi-drunken suburban college boys cruising through in their cars, pointing cameras out the windows, with soundtracks that consist almost entirely of “holy fuck, lookit that!”). There’s nothing else like it in Canada. It’s heart-breaking, skin thickening, horrific, and one hundred percent howling day to day.

Yet, somehow, Vancouver got picked for the 2010 Olympics. Hope all you Canadians are voting today.