Wednesday, August 08, 2007

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.


Spoke said...

You said "I love eating by myself...This is one of my favorite things to do."
Funny, I can only guess as to the flow of conversation had by the Shooters:
" hey, wanna come and get high?"
A plan etched out socially, ending quite frankly, very anti-socially.
Unlike a meal taken in solitude, heroin, I should think, is un-interuptable time.
So why "bring a friend"? To mask the anti-social "problem" of dope?
Odd point (no pun intended) for me to ponder in all of this.

papa herman said...

Lord have mercy.

Take 2 said...

Hey you know there is nothing quite like a few good girlfriends going out for a meal or a dessert. :-)


Pondering Pig said...

What a picture, Paula. Maybe it was William Burroughs and Bill Evans off for a secret tete-a-tete?
But such a strange picture. Were they too old to care if they got busted anymore? Or is heroin use semi-legal in B.C.?
I just finished reading a bio of Janis Joplin - the scene in the last chapter where, all alone in her motel room, she accidentally OD's and rolls off the bed onto the floor - is so pathetic and sad. So much to live for - all gone because the dope was too strong. I am not a big fan of any drug at this point, but heroin and meth remain the enemy of man.

Patrushka said...

Reading this post made me very uncomfortable, even rather queasy. What a way to end an enjoyable afternoon...watching two old men finding solace through a needle.