If I still have this blog in a few years time and it has degenerated into random mumblings, there is a very, very good reason. It has become very apparent to me that I live in Special Needs City. I am not in any way trying to be derogatory. I have just noticed that there are an extraordinary number of weirdoes in the city. In fact, I defy any city (other than possibly New York) to produce such a fine crop of crazies.

On any given day, while walking on the street, or sitting on the bus, you are likely to be sandwiched between the Vaguely Demented and the Droolingly Psychotic. I know one of the main psychiatric hospitals very kindly released a bunch of more minor patients onto the streets, and we struggle with a huge drug addiction problem, but what is scary is not so much the ranting guy wearing three jackets and smelling like pee and Listerine, but the person who seems oddly normal. Too normal. If you know what I mean. The Vaguely Demented are the ones you have to watch out for.

I have also realised that the famed politeness of Canadians may actually just be born out of pure insanity. And hey, the grey skies and cold weather have made me go slightly mad, so imagine being born here?? As soon as I came here for the first time, I understood why there are so many stories of bizarre murders and strange happenings. What else is there to do when it’s so frikkin cold? Have babies or murder people. It’s a tough call. I gues you could do both??

In no particular order, here are some of my favourite regular (and irregular) crazies:

1. One Sandwich Short Lady

There must have been something seriously wrong with the sandwich. Or OSSL simply didn’t like the face of the guy sitting opposite her on the Skytrain. As we got to the stop, OSSL decided to smash her sub into the face of an unsuspecting fellow passenger. For no reason. I mean, when I want to do this to someone, i usually know them and they usually really deserve it. Plus, I’ve never actually gone as far as to physically attack someone with food. It could only be a matter of time though…

2. Starbucks Guy

In all respects, a normal gent, SG enjoys a latte and sitting in the arm chair most Saturdays in the local Starbucks, spending quality time chatting to… himself. But not in a ranting way, in a very conversational way. He responds, he laughs at what I assume are jokes, he nods, he shakes. It’s pretty spectacular to watch.

3. Pigeon Man

One of my absolute favourites. Pigeon man has a pet pigeon tied to a string that sits on his hat or head, while he sits on the street corner panhandling. I have so many questions. Did he catch the pigeon? Did he hatch the pigeon? Does the pigeon like being tied to the string? Is pigeon shit good for your hair? Why a pigeon, not a parrot? Or did he not have a choice, being a street person? Are the other pigeons jealous? What does he feed the pigeon? So many unanswered questions…

4. Cleopatra

Behold Cleopatra. Her shimmering gold headdress. Her toothless grin. Her seven layers of clothing. I don’t even want to know if she has an asp hidden somewhere.

5. Changing Excuse Woman

CEW can routinely be seen crying or rocking on the side of the road with a small piece of cardboard, holding a litany of ever-changing reasons why she needs money. She’s mentally challenged and pregnant one week, the next her husband beats her, then she’s abused, autistic and running away from home, then she’s physically disabled. She has a cane in front of her, even when I have seen her striding purposefully down the street. I am sure that she has most likely suffered horrible tragedies in her life, but I can’t help being a little sceptical when her stories change every week and get more and more tragic as time goes by.

There are so many others. Cellphone-as-a-Hat Man, Screaming War Vet in a Wheelchair, Racist Redneck, God-Bless-You Man… and these are just the obvious ones who most likely have some kind of mental illness or addiction issue. The more scary ones are those who pass as “normal”; the squinty eyed weirdoes and mutterers and mumblers. What a delightful city! If you are a people watcher like me, there is endless fodder for my amusement (and blog). My only concern is how long it will take for me to turn into one of them… perhaps I’d better go and get myself a sandwich just in case.

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