I remember being unable to look away...
One of my special treats is taking myself out for lunch. I love eating by myself. I bring a book, I bring my journal, I watch people. This is one of my favorite things to do.
One day I was at a little cafe that used to be above Scratch Records in Vancouver. I was seated in the window with a great view of the street below and the Cambie Hotel right across from me. I was drinking my coffee after my lunch, watching the people walk by, more interesting than waves on the beach. Because of the area, the mix of people was wonderfully strange, business men in expensive suits, drunks, punks...quite a mix of society ebbing and flowing past me.
I leaned back in my chair, and my eye was caught by what was happening in the top window of one room in the Cambie. There were two old looking men with greasy grey hair sitting at a rickety table right in the window. The one man rolled up his sleeve, nice and neat, way above his elbow. As he picked up a rubber tube and began tying it around his arm, the other man lit a match and held it to a spoon.
They were preparing to shoot heroin, right in plain view of me at my shiny table in the neat cafe with a third cup of strong coffee. There was nothing to do but watch or look away, and I found I could not look away. They both injected the drug, then sat at the table nodding. I watched for a long time.