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Hazy, lazy do-nothing Sunday

July 7, 2019

When the kids are away the dogs will play. Jumping for treats in the empty playground on the Spruce St. side of the L’Ecole Bilingue Elementary School.

To the best of my knowledge nothing at all happened in Vancouver on Sunday (July 7th), or rather, nothing happened in my Vancouver neighbourhood of Fairview.

As a blogger, however,, I still feel pressure to post something so here goes nothing.

After finally getting up and leaving my parkade sleeping spot this morning at the luxurious hour of 11 a.m. I lazily made my way to the the McDonald’s restaurant in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue.

Once there, I ate an indifferent hamburger, drank two cups of coffee and consumed a fairly large quantity of social media.

At the same time my laptop, camera and wireless earbuds were sucking up as much electricity as physics would allow.

At some point one of my homeless peers joined me (having—he told me—also just woken up). He ordered a coffee and we chatted about this and that, including the films we had each recently seen.

Having both had a chance to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story, we agreed that it was quite awful (I couldn’t get past the first 15 minutes). I told him that I thought Rogue One was, by far, the best of new Disney Star Wars films I had seen.

For his part, he couldn’t say enough about the virtues of the John Wick sequel he was currently watching over-and-over on his phone.

While I weighed this recommendation against the knowledge that one of his favourite film franchises was the Transformers, ala, Michael Bay, he made a phone call to someone and then left the restaurant—apparently to take delivery of “two blues”.

I shortly left as well—to answer my own call of duty, as it were.

Something even more sedentary than me this Sunday

The well-maintained and working payphone (604-872-9504) outside the VGH Emergency entrance on 10th Ave..

From the McDonald’s, I rode exactly six blocks west to 950 West 10th Avenue—the entrance of the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) Emergency Department.

My object was to photograph and verify the existence of the rara avis of a working payphone in the Emergency department’s massive covered entrance way.

This was for a map I had just begun of Vancouver’s working payphones.

With the one at VGH, my payphone map only shows the two that I know work in the Fairview neighbourhood plus another three elsewhere in the city that, according to the Internet, worked in 2018.

Taking this photo constituted my entire workload for the day,

I then rode to the Sunshine Market at 16th Avenue and Oak Street to buy the fixings for dinner, later in my parkade.

On my way back toward West Broadway I followed Spruce Street.

At 15th Avenue I paused to watch, probably the most energetic display to be seen in the entire neighbourhood that afternoon.

In the otherwise empty school yard of L’Ecole Bilingue Elementary, a woman could be seen coaxing her dog to jump over a wire obstacle planted in the dusty yard.

A device that announced the dispensation of treats with loud clicks could be heard being used to incentivize the dog to perform the trick over and over again.

Jump. Click-click. Jump. Click-click. Jump. Click-click, and so on.

It was active but monotonous at the same time. I don’t know if I was watching play, or training, of some kind.

Nothing much more to crow about

Two crows lazing on a lawn at Spruce and 10th.

As I continued north along Spruce I stopped again at 10th Avenue to watch a couple of crows taking it easy on someone’s front lawn.

While one of the black birds made a languid and half-heartedly show of poking around, its mate wasn’t even bothering to stay on its feet. It was sitting perfectly still in the short grass and may have been napping for all I know.

It was that sort of afternoon.

Without another notable sighting to slow my progress I soon arrived back at my parkade sleeping spot—little more than six hours after I left it in the morning.

The bike trailer’s towbar, freshly realigned with the “plane” of the trailer frame.

After arranging my sleeping gear and whatnot, I did nothing more taxing than adjust the alignment of my bike trailer’s jerry-rigged towbar. This only involved loosening and tightening half a dozen carefully-placed hose-clamps and took maybe five minutes.

Later I cooked a simple dinner of basmati rice and mild curry using my butane camp stove.

It’s true that I also published this post but that hardly counts as work. I think that it may actually take more effort to read than it took to write. Click the images to enlarge them.

  1. burning my brilliant 'if I pass out and don't have time in the morning I'll have it now' meal permalink

    It might be the lack of sleep, but I really cracked up at ‘indifferent hamburger’. Hope I didn’t wake anybody else?


  2. I grew up with pay phones. Nice to see they still have them, somewhere. How much do they cost now? It was a dime, and then a quarter. I can’t imagine, now.


    • I will make a point of noting the price with each payphone I personally inspect. A potato and a payphone call used to be comparably priced I recall. Now I’m told that potatoes can easily cost a dollar each!


  3. There used to be a pay phone by the Granville and 10th bus stop. As a person that is cell phone less, when it comes to emergency, I asked others to which I found most of them don’t want strangers to use their cell for security reason. Yes, yesterday was mundane for me as well.


    • The payphone in the 2500 block of South Granville has been gone for three or for years. just before it went away I wrote a post about it. The payphone in front of the Mac’s, at Hemlock was finally carted off in the summer of 2016. Payphones would not have nearly the on-going utility that they continue to have if smartphones could—guaranteed—hold a charge for a full 24 hours.


      • Slowcrow permalink

        What a valuable resource that will be!! People who are sent out of a welfare office with a bunch of numbers to call can at least call them! Dealing with voicemail will still cause grief tho. And you loose your 50¢ (sometimes over and over and over……) Adds up…. Social service folks sure aren’t much help at times…… Not everyone can keep track of a phone….. (Maybe you could extend the list to Metro Vancouver, they’re as” rare as hen’s teeth out here”)…..


      • The Twitter engagement on this has shocked me. There is much more than niche interest.

        Assuming that I could snap my fingers and materialize a fairly complete and accurate map as of July 2019, the result would need to stay on top of the “diminishment” of payphones over time. This is the harder part probably.


  4. I enjoyed reading something on the internet that wasnt trying to make me do or think or pick a side or worry about …………… Great bit of writing.


  5. Grant permalink

    I used to work for the City of Vancouver at city Hall in the Utility Department. A handful of times they would get me to go out and count pay phones and see if they are on city or private property. This was 15 years ago or so.
    I would imagine a master list or map still exists though may be outdated.


    • This is really interesting! Do you happen to have any recollection of the numbers associated with those counts 15 years ago?

      I have been in touch with Telus, which admits to having far fewer than 400 payphones in all of Metro Vancouver. Bell has maybe 12 in the city of Vancouver. There is an unknown number of payphones operated by other, smaller companies.


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