Footnote: While I do try my best to post entries on a regular basis, the side effects of $5 shots of whiskey had taken its toll along with what previous motivations I’d possessed prior. Forgive the delay.
Addendum: If you happen to suffer from signs of high blood pressure, be warned that the following post may trigger a momentary lapse in judgment and result in the smashing things violently into one another.
Having made the fine acquaintance of Captain Louie and Paul the guitarist that afternoon, I decide to go on a leisurely walk along the streets of Victoria. Periodically I stop here and there to snap pictures of the vintage stores. I confess that Paul’s previous assessment of my neurotic behavior is, in fact, quite evident. From time to time, I begin to alarm the shop owners with my random bursts of geek-related ecstasy, if only becau-
FUCK ME. IS THAT AN ATARI STAR WARS ARCADE MACHINE?!
A COMPLETE SET OF MOTHERFUCKING CASTLE GRAYSKULL?
$3 – $5 SETS OF 80’s EDITION TRANSFORMER TOYS AND COLLECTION ITEMS?
I decide to leave before I rob the damn place.
After a while, giddy from all the sights and sounds of the island, I find my way into one of its many landmarks, namely the Empress hotel. Stepping into the lobby, you can immediately feel the ambiance that seems to echo off the place; though renovated, the building itself speaks of old age. I find my way into the dining room and after careful consideration, sit down for lunch and tea.
The restaurant is well occupied for a Sunday, most of the people frequenting the place are amongst the upper class, but a cheap suit aside and a polite attitude can almost always fit you into any particular situation. I notice that there’s some kind of a large influx of people in formal wear, maybe the sort of crowd just leaving a business conference. Fancy.
I sit beside a gentleman in what I identify as an Armani suit. The silken sleeves and the gold-silver cufflinks speak of status. I imagine that it would be the worst move in the world to even so much as spill his champagne. He’s an older type, gray hair slicked back along his receding hairline, not a speck of dust on his clothes. I’m surprised that he would talk to me at this point, my appearance vastly contrasting his finery.
What I am unprepared for, though I somehow wish I had known sooner, was the sheer amount of self-entitled and stomach-churning bigotry that I would be in for.
For reasons of discretion, not to mention the gap in my memory from the time of this writing, I will refrain from boring you with the trivial details. We talk for a while, waiting for our food, and I am introduced to what appears to be the chief executive of small line of businesses here in the West Coast. While not as widely commercialized as other mainstream venues, this fine gentleman initially proves to be a modest sort.
We trade stories about Vancouver and Victoria. He expresses some kind of envy for my would-be venture though I failed to mention to him about where it is I happen to be coming from, the people I’ve interacted with. At some point I inquire about his view on the homeless population, not having brought up my previous two encounters with Paul and the Captain.
I am unprepared for the caliber of his sharp response and I quote, word for word, his following reply: “I have no sympathy for those types of people. These men and women are all addicts, liars and thieves. They’re parasites feeding off the system, I think they’re the scum of the earth. A good colleague of mine was robbed once in broad daylight by one of these filth and the police have done nothing about this. It’s ridiculous.”
I sustain the urge to immediately snap back at him, reminding myself to try and be rational since I know little about his experiences with the impoverished. I ask him whether or not he’s ever directly been mistreated by these types of individuals. “Not at all,” He replies, sipping his coffee. “Then again I don’t even bother giving them the time of day.”
But why not, I ask back, they’re still people. He cracks a smile, replying: “I have more important things to deal with, namely my employees.” I shake my head, a bit of disbelief from what I’m hearing. “Most of these people have never worked a day in their lives. All they’re doing is selling drugs and prostituting themselves to support their habits.”
I am not making any of this up. I shit you not.
Wait a minute, most of these people have no choice or say in their situation; some of them have been cast out because of familial abuse or have been placed out here because of the recession. “Well,” He pauses momentarily to shake hands with a passing colleague. I lower my teaspoon. “It seems to me that they gave up trying.”
I’m not trying to argue with you, however, it seems to me that you don’t understand that the system is ruthless when it comes to dealing with the homeless population. There are qualified people out there but we can’t just expect them to change overnight, habits or otherwise. They’re out of options, I mean come on, it could be an accountant hidden beneath those rags.
At this point, the ‘gentleman’ turns towards him and raises a brow at me. I barely contain the urge to gouge out his eyes.
But wait, let me ask you something, did you work your way up from the bottom of the ladder yourself? I mean, did you always have these luxuries in front of you?
He pauses for a moment, ordering something from the waiter, “Well, I did work initially after graduation as a junior exec in training. You could say that I was voted in, rather inherited this business after my late father.”
I immediately get up and pay the bill before I torch the fucking place.
Fuck I need a cigarette.
Next Update: Victoria by Night Part 2