Day 1 – December 23, 2010 – The Beginning

Start from the beginning

Early Afternoon

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.


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