Archive for November, 2006

Another cigarette

November 29, 2006


Lucky strikes

November 28, 2006

“Sometimes you get lucky. There’s this Polish guy I see sometimes walking by. He asked me one day if I smoke and I said I did and so he gave me half a pack. It was a du Maurier package but with 10 DK cigarettes inside and a buck. Then the next night, he comes by here and gives me another full pack. Now the strange thing is that I can’t even talk to him because of his broken English.”

Epilogue (Nov 29):
“So that Polish guy that I talked to you about yesterday shows up today with no cigarettes fo me. Instead, he brings me a cigar. Just like that.”

Safer cigarette butts

November 25, 2006

Tony having a smoke

“People mostly don’t realize it but homeless people need to watch out for each other. There’s this homeless guy, I know him a little, he’s just finding butts on the street and using them like that so he’s always getting sick with colds and pneumonia and that stuff. So I tell him just to do a little surgery on the butts. I tell him to cut off half the filter and that gets rid of the germs. I smoke new cigarettes mostly so it’s not a problem for me.”

A sign of self-reference

November 23, 2006

Tony’s new sign

Breakfast vs. a bed for the night

November 20, 2006

TONY — 6pm/-1 C
“If I knew how cold it was going to be, I wouldn’t have had breakfast.”

“If I was allowed one wish …”

November 20, 2006

“I’d have my wife back — that’s what I wish for more than anything else.”

[Tony’s wife died 9 years ago.].

Tony’s question about (grande vanilla) “lattes”

November 17, 2006

Tony avoiding rain at twilight

“Hey Phil, what’s a ‘latte’ ?”

“You don’t know what a ‘latte’ is?”

“Well I know it’s a coffee drink.

“Now, earlier this morning a lady comes up to me and asks me if I was spending all my money on lattes. I told her that I didn’t know what a latte was and she told me about it. So I’m asking you, do you know what a ‘latte’ is?”

Tony’s great breakfast yesterday

November 15, 2006

“Hi, how are you?”

“I feel like crap — what do you think?

“Hey, I got myself a nice breakfast yesterday. I went down to my regular restaurant [approx a mile away; Tony generally rides his bike to get around]. I ordered the biggest one [breakfast] on their menu. It was a stack of 6 pancakes, bacon, ham, 3 three eggs, hash browns, toast and 2 cups of coffee. It set me back about 15 bucks [not the same $15 that was mentioned in the Nov. 11 post].

“When I was down at breakfast, someone stole my new backpack that someone had left for me. All my change in my hat got stolen too. I think I know who did it. He’s always doing something.”

“I was never embarrassed like that in my whole life”

November 11, 2006

Tony on Remembrance Day

“This morning, I was never embarrassed like that in my whole life. Me and my friend went to breakfast. I told my friend that it was no problem because I could pay for it with my 15 bucks. After breakfast, I couldn’t find my 15 bucks anywhere and I looked everywhere. I followed back my whole trail back to here [Tony’s spot on Roncesvalles Ave.] but I couldn’t find it. I nearly took my clothes off looking for it [Tony smiles]. So I had to tell the owner [of the restaurant] that I would pay him later. He didn’t have a problem because he sees me nearly every day so he trusts me. Even my friend was embarrassed.”

Tony’s cardboard sign

Another encounter with the police

November 7, 2006

“There’s been lots of burglaries along here [Roncesvalles]. The Korean fruit store at the corner lost all their cigarettes the other night. The cops came around to check things out. One of the cops who pretty much knows me found me standing inside another doorway and asked what I was doing there. I just told him I was staying out of the wind which was pretty cold. He wanted to know if I had any burglary tools which he anyway knew I didn’t and they all left me alone after that. Now they’re doing more patrols around here.”

Letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail

November 3, 2006

My letter to the editor published today in the Globe and Mail was triggered by the eye-popping irrationality of yesterday’s Facts & Arguments essay. In summary, the offending essay observes that homeless people are the unhappy product of their own “choices”, and that a proportion of homeless people sometimes spend their hard-begged money to buy themselves fancy lattes. The author declares: “Whether right or wrong, misinformed or wishful, this is the inescapable conclusion that keeps me, and many others as well, walking right past those cardboard “Spare Change? Need Food” signs without a second thought.”

Is moral blindness a choice?

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