Being without transportation right now, I take the bus to my haircut appointment halfway across town. At the bus stop in North Van I notice a young and slightly disheveled, but very handsome man racing to catch the bus with a bicycle and a white plastic bag full of empty cans. He quickly ties his shoe laces before asking the bus driver "Can I catch a ride?". I am pleasantly surprised that Vancouver bus drivers still grant free rides to people who obviously don't have much. One bus stop later, the bus driver shows his other side to a passenger who stands in front of the bus doors, waiting for them to open "Can't you read what it says on the door?", the bus driver shouts, referring to the sign 'Push to Open'.
The ride through Stanley Park is occupied by me looking at an about 2 or 3 year old Persian boy in a stroller with his Philippine nanny. When he sees me looking at him, he squints his eyes shut, but once in a while checks whether I'm still looking. So I do the same. Great fun.
After he and the nanny leave I'm left to listening to 2 women (girls?) animatedly discussing who of their friends will MARRY their present boyfriend. OMG, I'm old and out of sync with society. And they have SO MUCH to learn.
I get off at Burrard and walk towards the Skytrain. A man behind a cardboard sign that reads "HIV+, clean, sober, HUNGRY" is shouting "Come on people, I just want to buy some BREAD". This might be true or not, but I have not yet succumbed to the subhuman level where I walk by such a display and keep walking because I'm convinced that it is a lie. Among the huge crowd of young shoppers and older business people I am the only one that stops to fish out a wallet. Oh hang on, there is someone else that stops. It's the guy with the bike and the bag of empties When he sees me hand over a bill, he starts walking again (what he would have been able to give is not much), but not before saying "Have a great day" to me. How come a lot of the poor are so rich in spirit and a lot of the rich so poor? Could that old saying that "Money ruins the character" be actually true.
So as the divide between rich and poor in this world ever increases and the number of the poor swells to HUGE numbers, there is HOPE! Unfortunately not until the 'Middle Class' hits rock bottom.
I get to my hairdresser, Fabulous Fiona from Hong Kong, working in a Vietnamese-owned shop on Commercial Drive. Before she starts cutting my hair she vanishes into a backroom and comes back with a bottle of Okanagan white wine that she hands me. "Darling, you have no idea how much I NEED that right now" I tell her, but my suggestion of 'get two glasses!' is denied by lots of laughter and "NO, NO, I'm working". Doh je saai, Fiona !
Poor Grandparents. They always thought that one would meet the RIGHT KIND of people in tennis clubs. They couldn't have been more wrong ;-(