In the morning, on my way for coffee, I have to hurry to outrun him.
By him I mean the old hippy dude that lurks 18 hours a day on Baker St. From Sun up until long past sundown he's strolling Baker, long matted dreadlocks, not cut in 20 years, beard, the same, stumps for teeth, reflecting sunglasses, the same filthy clothes and yellow talons for fingernails.
In the summer he's good, he'll always find some unsuspecting tourist or part-time local to sink them into, but he's left a bit high and dry in the winter and so he's started trying to come after me....
Nonsense, it's all nonsense. He starts with "Can I ask you a question...." to which I reply quickly "No" and walk off. It's rude, to the point, and effective. He hollers something after me, I can't hear, don't care. By the time I get to Ward he'll be there as well - how is this possible? He loafs, saunters, he's in no rush whatsoever, just hanging out, trying to start a conversation which is more a diatribe, from the injustice of Louis Riel or against cars or maybe about his native heritage...
He's too filthy to see anything in him other than the most degraded Sadhu India has to offer...
Pretty sure he's not Indian, or Native American, not that that matters, Buffy Saint Marie wasn't either, and like a lot of people around here it never stopped them from claiming heritage...
But to give him the time of day is madness, it sets fire to the clock, he's nothing to say and takes forever to say it. He just wants to be heard. I haven't the time.
Or - another ploy - he'll ask to "borrow" a cigarette, as if there were a chance of him returning it, and if you were so unwise as to give him one (I've made this mistake too often) he'll feel obliged to reward you with some of his diatribes or maybe his morning routine of thanking the great Earth Mother or Yoga...
I'm out of patience for this so forays onto Baker are spent nervously scouting for where he is, and planning my route accordingly.
He's a parasite.
Then there's Sarah, whom I hadn't heard from for a couple of years. I've run into her around town, always sketchy, high, she won't look at me because I know, I know, and she's too much in denial, doesn't want my knowing.
Sarah, I worked with her about 5 years ago at the restaurant, 5'7' roughly, 200 lbs.
Until she went on a special Meth diet and lost it all, dropped to 110, 120 lbs and began posting Bikini photos of herself on all the local beaches and entering beauty contests. She contacted me to give her a driving lesson, and I was curious if all these Facebook pictures could be true, and after a fashion they were but she was high as a kite and the driving lesson ended when I suggested that maybe she shouldn't be driving...
So no contact for a few years, during which she posted all sorts of bollocks on Facebook, like how about she didn't lose all that weight by taking Meth (she did, most certainly), about how she was victim of violence/domestic abuse, with pictures of bruises on her wrists (which looked to me suspiciously like someone was restraining themselves from being a victim of her violence...), about how she was so beautiful and here's an unfiltered picture and about how she has ADHD (and what psychiatrist would diagnose this in a Meth head?) - and "neurodivergent" - and all sorts of other bollocks...it was bollocks without end.
Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks.
This is what Facebook is for, to keep "in touch" with people you would never in a million years want to keep in touch with.
Meanwhile, she's bounding round, living in a trailer here, with a boyfriend there, on this couch, that couch, it's the old Kootenay shuffle.
Only she's a pretty girl and shouldn't have a problem - eventually - of finding someplace to live. Only all her landlords prove to be creeps and predators and violent and abusive and this is what she's had to deal with...
That's the Meth for you.
I've seen her around, slimmer, for sure, but in the face it's beginning to tell, taut skin, wrinkles around the eyes, the shaven "I don't give a fuck" haircut. She's starting to look like a skull on a stick.
Apparently she's not had a job since the restaurant, managed to get on full disability with her ADHD. How? Nevermind. More bollocks. BC is good for this. We're too tolerant.
SO, no contact, no hear from Sarah, and - really - why would I, when I notice that she's posting that she'll be leaving the country. How is this possible? TO where?
None of my business.
But, a week or so later I get a Facebook message - she wants to know if she can come back to work at the restaurant.
I'm pretty damned sure the owners would say no, but I'm no longer there and the restaurant has long since closed.
I let her know.
The next question is do I have a sofa I could let her stay on while she sorts her shit out? She's living in her car up by Crawford Bay.
And this is a hard no. I have no sofa, and have no desire to have this demon in my life.
I'm poor at boundaries, but this was an easy one. I protest I have no sofa, the apartment is too tiny, and recommend that maybe she get a job at the Hot Springs - they have staff accommodations there.
A few days pass. Then another Facebook message, she's managed to sell her car, has to get it to Calgary, then she's getting on a flight to Newfoundland, and maybe I could give her money for gas?
This is another hard no.
I mean, this is a girl with quite literally hundreds of Facebook "friends", and this texting me is a sign of how many bridges she's burned.
I find out later she set up a "GoFundMe" to get herself back to Newfoundland, and - amazingly enough has $100!! Now, if she hasn't removed me as a friend, I can await updates as to what's next.
Parasite. I mean, WTF?
Looking for the better grade of people out here could be difficult.