Monday, April 21

Top 5 Ways to Survive a Graveyard Shift in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

1) LAUGH. When someone decides to set a garbage can on fire at 4 in the morning, you're only allowed to run around frantically for a certain amount of time. Reassure the concerned tenants that have actually woken up to the ridiculously loud alarms (most are in a drug-induced, semi-comatose state or out working the streets), push all the buttons you can see on the fire panel, phone the fire department to keep them at bay, wake up your supervisor for more clear instructions on which buttons to push because nothing seems to be working, get to the correct fire panel, turn off the wretched noise, then sit back and laugh. Manically. And sporadically. Stop suddenly for a few second intervals and then continue as the spirit moves.

2) SING. It helps. Seriously. Especially when you're fishing out rig after rig out of a garbage can, and pray to God that you don't get stuck by one and end up with HIV.

3) Drink lots of tea with a bunch of different people. Get to know them better. One lovely lady told me tonight that she's sending me a wedding invitation soon, because in a few months she'll be getting married to Jesus, the Lord Master. She's really excited. She's going to sew her own wedding dress and everything. (From what I've gathered, I think something went wrong in an Alpha course she took some time ago... there was a misunderstanding, somewhere...)

4) Pray. Pray pray pray pray. Pray. PRRRRRAAAY. P.R.A.Y.

5) Last but not least, if things get really crazy and you start to chat it up with one of the cockroaches crawling around on the desk, phone someone from the outside world. Eat up their talk of new hairstyle possibilities, grad dresses, music videos, and scriptural references to tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Post-script: I know it sounds like I am struggling and can't wait to get out of here, but really, I must assure you, I love my job. These are my people, my family, my friends. Sometimes (SOMETIMES) I can't believe I get paid for this.

where do you work?
With an organization called Community Builders. Ever heard of Gordon Wiebe? Jason Davies of the Prairie Dance Club? With those guys. I bounce back and forth between the Dodson Rooms on Hastings and the Jubilee Rooms on Main.
So, all in all, a pretty mellow night then?
sounds like with all the chaos with all the problems with all the people, you still provide a loving yet authoritative role. as you still love the job it shows your tough and seem to be a somewhat essential role to the Downtown Eastside
Thanks, Will... And Kyle, you shoulda been there.
I think its a spectacular thing you are doing
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