Le paradis n'est pas artificiel …

April 19, 2004

Am I the Only One?

On Sunday I was waiting for the number four bus at fourth avenue and wherever-the-fuck, just trying to stay calm in Kitsilano --- anyone who thinks East Vancouver is the freakiest part of town has just been desensitized to the superior weirdness of Kits: a neighbourhood of anorexic, botoxed pseudo-hippie white feminists, psyched out on prozac and low-carb-beer. That atmosphere, in combination with my own major lack of sleep/immersion into an academic brain-space, could only mean trouble.

After waiting at the bus stop in front of the Sally Ann for a long time, I wander over to the donation bin to shut it from the spitty rain. Then I hear a rustling inside. Shit. I try to determine if it's animal or human. The hexagonic bin is about seven feet tall, but the door panel is heavily padlocked, and the only other way in is the donation chute, the same style as a mailbox only bigger --- maybe the size of two big kitchen sinks. I dwell on this for a minute.

"Hello?" I venture. No answer, so now my concern is that some uncommunicating creature --- a racoon or cat or small child --- is stuck inside. I dwell on this for a minute.

Then a couple of Kits chicks promenade on up grey fourth avenue west, carrying big bags of junk. Beneath stretchy yoga outfits their waning muscles flicker like those of young horses; their faces speak of caffeine cocktails and a self-affirming morning of spring cleaning. They go for the chute.

"Uh, there's noises inside..." I say, schizophrenically. One woman eyes me.

"Is it a person?"

"I... don't know."

She nods and smiles. "Oh, yes, it's a person." She says it in such a way that I suddenly feel like a real country bumpkin, like when I first came to the city and didn't know how to use bus transfers, for not being more knowledgeable about Vancouver's contortionist binners.

"Hello?" she calls into the chute, in a more confident voice than I had used --- as if calling through the back screen door of her best friend's place.

"Yes," says a man's deep voice.

"We're just going to drop some things in. Watch your head! Why don't you just take these..." And gingerly, with the graceful manicured hands of those dish soap commercials, she holds her junk in the chute. A big dirty hand appears, like a platform or a tongue, to pull the bag down inside.

"Thank you!" she smiles at the bin, at me, at her friend, and they waltz off.

I stand there silently. I want to ask the big voice and big hand how the rest of their person got in there, and how they will eventually get out. I dwell on this for a minute, then I go and sit down on the bus bench.

As other people drop off their junk and the bin emits rustles, like some big iron stomach grumbling, I start to figure this must be a symbiotic Sunday routine in Kitsilano. I wonder if I'm the only one in the neighbourhood who still finds this majorly fucked up, and then my bus comes and I flee the scene without resolve.


Posted by delire at April 19, 2004 12:04 PM
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