A Brand New Day

A Strange Awakening

Today is a brand new day!  People will still complain even so, I know I do, you might have noticed.

What happened this morning revealed a whole new perspective on things.  We regularly get vagrants, where I live in downtown Hamilton, that pick through refuse.  I never would have believed that today, in this country, I would see people rifle through garbage to find…anything of value.  I’m not talking about scrap metal or bottle/can collectors.  I mean tearing open a garbage bag and pulling out the contents kind of garbage picking.  That started happening a few years ago.

A sound drew me out of sleep this morning, a plaintive voice, calling out steadily.  It took me a little while to realize what it was, but then I quickly got up as I thought I’d heard a cry for help.  It was just last night that my wife and I discussed the worry we have when people enter the giant dumpsters that grace our neighbour’s parking lot for the last half-year.  It isn’t safe to do so.  I opened the back door and called out into the darkness,

“Do you need help?”

The voice answered in the affirmative and added something unintelligible.

“Shall I call an ambulance?” I asked.

“I need a Chapstick, my mouth is so dry,” was the response.

“You’re calling out for a Chapstick?!” I asked incredulously.

No answer.

bin chapstick

I closed the door uneasy with my thoughts.  Who knew the needs of Hamilton’s poorest were so trivial?  So small a request, and still I couldn’t help him.  I wondered if I really just didn’t hear him correctly.  Is he waiting for me to call an ambulance?  I heard him again a little bit later and opened the door, and he quit his swearing.  Well at least he’s trying to be polite.  I went back to bed, unhappy for him, myself, and Hamilton in general.

If you don’t vote, then don’t complain they say.  In my own defense, a corollary might be: I’m running for office, its my job to complain!  Here’s what I will leave you with before you go out there and cast your ballot:  If you want this town to become a little Toronto, go ahead and vote for Eisenberger.  If all you need is Chapstick then maybe Sgro’s your man.  If you want to step forward into the twenty-first century as an ambitious city, willing to actually make a difference for people and the environment, vote for me, Henry Geissler for mayor, and build the NSLRT.

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