I didn’t have a bottle of water at home, so I took two dollars to buy myself a couple of bottles from the store before heading to the Downtown Eastside. Equipped with many layers of clothes, a smelly poncho, and a giant garbage bag, I entered the store. The store’s security guard greeted me either sincerely or suspiciously, I could not tell. I never played the part of a homeless or impoverished man in this life, so seeing the world through this new lens will also require a new perspective for me.
I carried the following things in my pocket, a U-pass (bus pass), my house key, a cell phone, a camera, and 16 teabags. I was planning on using my bus pass twice, once for heading towards downtown, and the other for returning from downtown. I told myself that whenever I needed to use the transit system, I will tell the driver that I had no money for the bus fare. Since my bus pass was in my pocket at all times, I technically never took advantage of the transit system.
Once I arrived in downtown Vancouver, I entered Starbucks. I needed hot water for my teabag. To those that know me, I drink tea all the time. In fact, I think tea is my addiction. The cashier politely served me hot water.
Walking with a huge garbage bag in one hand, a hot cup of tea in the other and having rain pour onto me was not a comfortable feeling. However, I am convinced that the term “comfortable” will be tested over and over again in the following days.
As I walked along the Granville strip, I found myself a place to sit. Once my cup of tea is finished, it will serve as a tool for collecting change. I wish to collect some money to buy fruits and vegetables from the market. The reason why I say “I wish to” is because I do not have complete control over all my surroundings. There are simply too many variables to deal with in this life to be able to get exactly what I want. However, I can certainly try.
When I finished my tea, I held my cup out. I dropped the 26 cents of change I had left from purchasing the two bottles of water into my cup. I did this so that people knew that I was begging for money. I closed my eyes and started to focus on my breath. A few seconds later, I heard something fall into my cup. As I opened my eyes, I said thank you. It was hard to know who I was thanking though. A group of four construction workers walked by, but none of them acknowledged their act of kindness. When I looked into my cup, I noticed a bus fare ticket inside. How this fare ticket will fit into my story will come into play at a later point in time.