The weekend is here and the week has been interesting. The snow is gone, finally! The parks are turning green and the trees are just about to leaf out. It is a great time to live in Alberta.
Right after work yesterday Max and I went to the Velvet Olive to meet friends. Just about everyone we know and like was going to be there. So we sat at a table with Blaine and Leslie, Ron and Darold, Krista and Chad, and a few others. People popped in and out the the conversation. Then Erin Boake appeared, she is one of two tenants in suites in our home. A few months ago, she had been on a trip and found herself a little short on cash at rent day. So she joined the long line of artists that paint for money. We commissioned her to paint for us. Yesterday she brings it to the lounge. It is quirky and fun. We absolutely love it.
Friday was also the deadline for my submission, that you have read so much about. I managed to get the thing off after a lot of work this week. Then I sabotage myself by sending the the wrong file and have to call and ask them to delete it and accept the the real file. I felt like an idiot. I wonder how often I do this kind of stuff to myself.
While I was trying to sort all of that out, I get a phone call from Alan the only tenant at 5201 Gaetz Avenue, that some drunk is kicking in the front door of the building. He was pulling up right when it was happening. He yells at the guy to stop who turns around a grunts at him. The calls to a man sitting in a truck nearby to call the police. Just then one drives up. Alan flags the police down and tells them what has happened, points to the perpetrator.
The officer takes Alan’s name and number, and tells him that he can’t do anything because he is on another call, then he drives off, leaving him standing there on his crutches looking at the door smashed in. He calls me angry and nearly in tears.
When I hang up from him I call Ed our downtown coordinator. He is our direct connection to the City. I respect and admire the work he is doing. He and I felt that the police should have handled the request differently. He calls the RCMP Superintendent. We’ll see what comes out of this.
I go down and visit him after I am finish dealing with the manuscript fiasco. We walk the streets around the building with him. He tells me where people shoot up and the trouble they are having. I watch a couple of drug deals take place. I see that someone has set up a place to shoot up under the stairs of the building. I wonder how to clean it up and board it closed. I worry about dirty needles. Most of the HIV cases in the city are users.
I think to myself that there must be more that can be done. Must be something else I could do to help end the problem. I walk back to Sunworks past ‘Potter’s Hands’, a supposed outreach and low income housing complex. It is filthy on the streets near the front door. There are old clothes laying around. Cigarette butts everywhere. The streets are stained with, piss, coffee, beer. It stinks of stale beer as I pass. On another day I watch a crack heads smoke up in the entrance in plain view. I want to scream at them to look at their lives.
Policing is of course only half of the battle. The property owner, the building manager, and the tenants need all to take pride in the corner. Frankly I don’t know what to do. The crime prevention people with the City tell us not to engage the addicts for our own safety. I get that I’ve seen the desperation in the eyes of an addict. Some would do anything. Still it is hard to be 6 foot 5 inches and then not at least tell these people to move on. Yet I can’t watch the down town deteriorate as this problem gets worse. My life is full of paradox right now.
I hate that this is happening to our city.
So all of this happens the hour before I am suppose to meet our friends for drinks. The Velvet Olive is off the same laneway as ‘Potters Hands’. From the patio we can see what goes on there in the back of the building. Thankfully we can’t smell it from there. Max and I talk about the problem and have decided to carry our cameras with us. We are going to take picture of every incident we see. What we will do with the pictures we are not sure yet.
It occurs to me just now that with the main floor of our building empty until deconstruction that we might be able to lease for very little an office to the police, a community outreach place. This corner and three blocks either way are some of the worst in the City. The affordable housing ghettos are across the street. Potter’s hands is one block down.
The evening was fun, a nice time after a hard week. I have my writing done for the week and think that maybe I’ll finish the painting that is here in the sunroom. I look at it every day and I think I know know what I need to do. So that will be a wonderful right brain activity. I’ll be interested to see if once I get into the flow of it, if ideas and thoughts come for my writing project. I suspect that my brain may be wired this way, and so I ‘ll keep the laptop on the table behind me just in case.
Life can be so fun sometimes.