Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dog Days

CD in Play: The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet. The Jesus and Mary Chain, I Hate Rock'n'Roll.

Fear and Loathing In South Burnaby, Chapter One

As you know, (or don't) part of the reason I took a job as a security guard was because it is a means of getting Level II, Occupation First Aid training for free. The best option to pay off my student loans in one shot is to try for a First Aid Attendant/Security job up North. This will allow me to go back to school and get my teaching certificate so I can begin a career as a high school history teacher, rather than a frequently unemployed grunt labourer or office drone/microserf. From the high school job, I should be able to save up for a Masters in Visual Art. From an MVA I can try for Post-Secondary or go back to high school and make more money. (I would not, however, consider an administrative position under any circumstance) In the mean time, I am a security guard at a quarter-dead mall crawling with addicts of all stripes, dealers, theives and packs of delinquent youths.
The past few days, tensions have been running high on my site. South Burnaby, British Columbia -particularly the area I work in - is a bad area. The mall next door to us is one of the largest in Canada and a major tourist attraction. (Why? I have no clue. I vacation I could care less about malls and shopping) this attracts scads of people looking for money, many of them with a habit to feed. Dealers, like free-range grazers or nomadic hunters, follow the heard wherever they go to feed. A pretty large heard of addicts and desperate people have set up in South Burnaby, the malls provide constant sources of spare change people to sell goods or steal.
Paradoxically, I find myself contemptuous of and genuinely concerned for the plight of these people. Like so many people in our society I'd like to kick them in the ass for wallowing in their own misery. I don't want to give them my money. I don't want them to talk to me, get close to me or appear anywhere within my line of sight. They hurtle insults at us because we are an impediment to their means. They belittle me for being a guard like being a drug-addled bum is something to be proud of. I begin to hate them, their shambolic walking, dirty clothes and scabby faces and arms.However, I know that those feelings are the basest ones I can feel. We should strive to be more than we are and compassion is part key to becoming more. My eldest step-brother was/is a junkie. He no longer needs heroin but as of a few years ago he was still using people just like a junkie. Somewhere instead him is a deep-rooted problem, something that needs to be discovered and dealt with. The same goes for the majority of addicts, I think. Some of the addicts that wander through aren't bad people. Talk to them and you get the sense of something driving them beyond the drug, beyond their own full understanding driving them into selfdestruction. I know that it costs money to treat people, but the rise in addiction in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia alone should show that we need to do something with all do speed and haste. I believe that drug addiction should be treated as a symptom of mental illness and that new approaches need to be considered if we want to make any progress an countering in this disturbing crisis. Tax dollars are needed to help these people, to get them treatment. Not a popular option in these self-centred days, where people care more about the few measely dollars they loose out at tax time than trying to create a better society for everyone. I, me, me, mine rules the day and in that sense how better are we than the people who inconvenience us on the street?

Another note of thanks...

to Trent for giving me and icon for the blog. He had a shot of me this winter where he only managed to get my ear, but must have deleted it since he has no idea what I have been talking about. Cookie Monster makes for an excellent icon.

Doctor Huh?

I am staying with friends. Gavin is a Dr. Who fanatic. He just bought a double DVD set of William Hartnell series episodes - An Unearthly Child, The Daleks and The Edge of Destruction. I have introduced him to Kolchak: The Night Stalker.


Blogger Geosomin said...

I do agree with you. It is hard here in some of the "bad areas" of toontown to deal with the feelings I get when confronted by the addicts and homeless people there. So many people here just ignore them and don't go into that area...like it is contageous. Living in a city where police left a young boy on the outskirts of town to freeze to death (intentional or otherwise is yet to be determined) gives you a hint of just how bad the attitudes here can be, especially to the native population. I've never understood that whole thing and was raised to respect and treat others well until they prove to be false to me, but I hear racist comments even at work and wonder just where it all comes from.
I mean, an old girlfriend of a friend is currently, and sadly, in love with a meth addict. His life is destroyed and her (and their soon to be 2 children) life is falling apart. She kicked her habit but still I often wonder just how I would react if the person I loved became addited. And can she help him or will she just fall back into it. So many of her old friends just ridiculed her and asked her what her problem was that she was still with him, like you can just turn fellings and problems off. People treat addicts like idiots, as tho if they just "thought" about it they'd just up and quit, ignoring what caused things to be that way in the first place, not even counting the physical aspects of addiction. Poverty and crime are linked and I try to do what I can in bits and spurts but I still catch myself sometimes feeling scornful or resentful. I've worked hard to be where I am, but not everyone is so lucky. It's hard not to resent people and think they just aren't trying...so hard to be "a better man".
When we were in Vancouver it really hit me...somehow we ended up in the *bad* part of downtown on Hastings by accident and it was scary and sad. People openly weeping and angry at their situation and people just walking by - homeless people setting up their bed for the night and people just ignoring them. How many people would be off the streets if they were properly cared for and just had someone to help them...but would they even know what to do with that help after so long? I just don't know sometimes.
I wonder...how close am I to that with just a few turns of fate?
Makes you think...and try to be a better person.

09 May, 2006 10:47  
Blogger Magnus said...

Is said old girlfriend anyone I know?
I recommend reading War Against the Weak by Edwin Black.(http://www.waragainsttheweak.com/) It serves as a frightening inditement of our attitudes towards the poor even today. So much of the garbage that has been said in the past is being recycled today.

09 May, 2006 20:53  
Blogger Geosomin said...

No, you wouldn't know her. I met her through the friend from here after we moved here. She a such a sweet woman, but she has her own issues to deal with..and loving someone who's become addict can't be easy.
I'll look up that book...

10 May, 2006 12:16  

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