Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bus Report #211

This morning I waited at Fillmore Street with one of the middle school girls. A caravan of homeless guys with shopping carts came by, and one of the guys sat down on an empty bench at the bus stop.
He immediately took several lighters out of his jacket and started cracking them open (by smashing them against the metal arm of the bench) and began pouring their contents into a plastic bottle. He did this with three or four lighters and then topped it off with some rubbing alcohol from another bottle. I watched as he screwed the cap on the bottle and then shook the bottle with all his might.
This DIY chemistry made me nervous. I decided that if the guy blew himself up, I'd grab the middle-schooler and we'd run for cover at the check cashing place.

Luckily, our bus came a minute later and we got on. Safe.

And, apologies to anyone who was jonesing for a post yesterday.
Here's yesterday's post, late:

This morning I ran for the bus, not because I saw it but because I sensed it. Yeah, well, bus sense was apparently not in order this morning, because as I jogged in to the stop, the Russian business man said, "I was going to signal to you that you didn't have to run, since there's nothing coming."

Nice of him. He said, "I have a few things in the pipeline so I might start taking the Express instead."
"Cool," I told him. "That will be fast."

At Fillmore I waited for the bus with D. who was listening to music on headphones and lip-synching. I nudged his side and he turned off the music. He caught me up on his latest office drama, that is DRAMA in capitals. Crazy!

I've been meaning to post about new developments at the Hotel Casa Loma, on Fillmore and Fell. When I lived on Oak a fire ravaged the Casa Loma, covering the neighborhood with smoke and ash for days. I remember getting out of bed and being alarmed by the smoke smell before a roommate told me what had happened. We walked around the corner to see the damage. A lot of people were left homeless after that. For the next few years squatters occupied the Casa Loma. I would see people climbing up the fire escapes and through windows. Cables snaked around the building giving the squatters electricity and (I imagined) free cable TV.
Every few months there would be construction materials heaped inside the Casa Loma's downstairs space, but nothing has happened for over 5 years.
Until now.
It looks as though New College has bought the building and will be developing it for student housing or something like that. I am glad something is finally happening. Between that building being unused and the closed-up church across the street, it was getting depressing.


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