Every morning when I look out, there are two homeless men sitting in the bus stop. You can immediately see they are homeless. Beards, dirty clothing, plastic bags around them. But they are sipping coffee there. Coffee they get at McDonalds. I wonder. Does McDonalds have a social responsibility program, giving away free coffee to the homeless? Or is their coffee particularly cheap or adjusted to the average homeless taste bud? Often, when I look out, there is a third man sitting with them. Thought he was homeless too, at first, but he doesn’t fit the typical style, with his short hair and black polo. He is always talking fast, using a lot of hand movement. And then this morning, I saw him on the phone at the library. Again, talking fast and making a lot of movement, reading something from a little notebook, obviously agitated. That’s not a homeless man.. Social worker, working the streets all day, trying to help them? Religious man, giving them kind words from the bible? Or just a drug dealer?
The only thing I hate is that I can’t quietly eat my ice cream at the steps of the library. There is always a homeless man starting to shout or babble. Nothing helps if they pick on you, they all have graduated from the ‘get contact’ class in the school of the homeless. If you don’t react, they will just start shouting ‘you’re an asshole and I am human too, only asking a question, you speak English don’t you’, etc etc. If you react, they want money or keep on talking, mostly not understandable bits of language, accompanied by very clear bits of saliva. And sit next to you (the smell doesn’t really go with ice cream). Once I tried an effective method, in Amsterdam (my, does Holland have few homeless people, in comparison): “out-crazy them”. Start waving your arms like mad, uttering nonsense syllables with lots of saliva. Screaming helps too: “YaaaaHH! KLM! Bad sky! BE-atles! You ARE! YaaaaHH!” But I admit, you have to be in the mood. Wasn’t today, so took the abuse, stoic looking forward and eating my ice cream and feeling just a little bit of social guilt. Gave a homeless girl on the next street some money. Another day in Vancouver.