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The sun didn’t come out today but Daryl did

October 17, 2014


You’ll see a lot of people going through the dumpsters in the back alleys of Vancouver but you won’t see a lot see them doing it wearing a long black overcoat topped with a black fedora.

I only ever knew one dumpster diver who made a habit of dressing like this and I haven’t seen him for at least four years.

His name was Daryl — a very nice, soft-spoken fellow. Eccentric and artistic. He made interesting things with many of the interesting things he scavenged.

But lo and behold the man in black I saw today was Daryl. He was back! As laconic as ever and still dressing like an extra from the old television show Dragnet.

Sunday in the yard with Daryl


When I first met him in 2004 Daryl lived in a big old run-down house on 8th Avenue — one of the few that escaped being replaced by a condominium in the 1980s.

Daryl hasn’t lived there for years but the house remains — something with character (and a veranda) for the eye to catch on as it slips over the bland sameness of the crumbling 30-year-old low-rise condos built side-by-each.

While he lived in that house, Daryl used to stage a yard sale every Sunday that it didn’t  rain.

He laid out to best advantage a selection of what he judged his most salable scavenged wares. And spent his Sunday afternoons leisurely chatting with whichever of his neighbours came by to check out the selection.

It’s to be assumed that many little nicknacks that Daryl fished out of dumpsters and cleaned up thus found their way into the neighbouring condos.

These days Daryl lives on the other side — the north side — of False Creek, in downtown Vancouver — specifically in social housing for veterans.

He said the building he lived in was quiet and dull. His neighbours were all old men who were inclined to tell the same stories over and over.

When I asked him about his health specifically and his life in general, Daryl made light and said everything was good. But he would say that. He can be so reserved behind that weary smile of his.

It was several years before he let me understand that he suffered with serious health problems as well as depression.

I was very happy to see him today and  I could only hope that he was half as happy to be seen. I certainly don’t want to  wait another four years before I see him again. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Binning, Fairview, People

  1. Thank you, Stanley, for introducing us to Daryl. I wish there were a television show featuring the truly interesting people of Vancouver instead of the likes of Ultra Rich Asian Girls.

    • Thanks. Daryl is interesting. And don’t sell the URAGs short — they might be interesting in their own way.

      For instance, I listen to an amount of world pop. There’s a South Korean idol star who performs under the name G.NA. I’ve watched videos where she displays her charmingly awkward English.

      Her real name is Gina Choi. Ethnically Korean but 100% Canadian. She was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and raised in Surrey. Having found pop stardom in Korea, she appears to downplay her fluency in English. Interesting twist no?

  2. G Johnston permalink

    I have to agree with Tiger. There are many long-time residents of Vancouver who are invisible – all with their own stories. Maybe local community TV could feature Daryl. As a veteran, he must have some stories, like whether his service contributed to his health problems, particularly his depression. May we hear more about him?

    • Daryl is a very private person and I’m not one to push — I don’t even know his last name. But when and if I see him next, I’ll see if he’s willing to be drawn out a bit more.

      I think the stories you are interested in seeing — and which I agree are worth telling — will be told on the Internet, through blogs and through the newer video blogging, which promises more immediacy and verisimilitude.

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