I’m sitting in Nelson the Seagull, drinking a coffee and eating an overpriced mediocre danish. Nothing warrants the prices, but the coffee is good and the atmosphere is calm. I have made the mistake of asking the price of the bread they make. 8$.
Across the street I watch a homeless couple cosy up behind a kids wagon before shooting up. The woman laughs and hides her face. They sit there, they never stop fidgeting. He flips through a notepad, she scratches at her head. All the while, sitting outside a gated building. The wealthy and the bums living side by side.
A few blocks up on East Hastings, the worst of it converges near pigeon park. I walked through it today, reminded of a crowded bazaar where the vendors are drunks and addicts, and their wares are “found” items and drugs. As I walked through that block, I realized among them I was alone and suddenly feeling vulnerable. So I held my bag close,stone faced and walked through the crowds.
The homeless couple are gone now and my cappuccino is finished. Not quite time to leave yet though, I’m warm and the place is getting busy again.
A father and daughter sit across from me, there is a strange vibe with the man. He seems just a little too attached to her, they sit a little too close. But who am I to judge.
I don’t understand this city, how can so many people end up marginalized, forgotten and left to rot while others buy 8$ loaves of bread and 12$ sandwiches? Where is the middle?