Across the street from my home is a hotel that has been converted into social housing. People in the neighbourhood have had their collective panties in a bunch since the plan was proposed, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better – the housing has been in operation for almost two years now, and every communication I receive from the neighbourhood speaks of the housing as though it’s the source of all evil in the world.

The truth of the matter is that crime and police incidents have dropped in the area since the housing opened. There have been far fewer random occurrences that require police intervention since the hotel was converted, but no one is paying attention to that – they’re too busy actively looking for ways to close the shelter down and put people back onto the streets in the name of “thinking of the children”. If they truly wanted to set a good example for the children, why not teach them that everyone deserves a home and that some people need help? People in the neighbourhood have been quoted in the news saying “we believe in social housing”, but it’s painfully obvious that their sentences end in “.. just not in our neighbourhood”.

According to the organization that runs the place across the street:

[The former Ramada Inn] is a 40-room transitional housing centre, operated in partnership with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society. These buildings have adopted a Whole Life Housing approach to wellness which features: affordable rent; assistance with addictions and medical issues; a breakfast and community kitchen program; housekeeping services; employment support; free laundry; and, an advanced pest control and room maintenance program.

Oh, the horrors. People living near us, learning how to become productive members of society. Recently, it was announced that the city is trying to make the housing a permanent thing instead of the temporary solution it was initially proposed to be. Naturally, people in the neighbourhood are panicking, thinking no doubt of how they will possibly explain the lower crime rates to their children. I’m really disgusted with most of my neighbours – who the hell are we to interfere with other people having a roof over their head? What makes your home so precarious that the thought of someone different than you living nearby puts it into actual peril? The people in the housing program have waited for months or years for the luxury of a stable home – they want to be there, they’re getting help to overcome their issues, and they want to be a part of the neighbourhood. Remind me again how that’s a bad thing?

The emails I’m getting from the neighbourhood association are just the best. In the last few weeks:

  • I received an invitation to the Community Block Party that excluded both our building and the social housing across the street, but we were given an exception and extended an invite
  • A neighbour had an incident with a housing resident. The last line of their email was a threat: “If I ever have another experience like this or hear of another neighbour who has,  I will immediately resign from the [community alliance] and will become a strong opposer instead of a supporter.”
  • Someone living in my building sent a list of all the times and dates that police, fire, or ambulance vehicles were at the hotel over the last six months, and demanded an explanation for each incident (holy fuck are you kidding me)
  • People are freaking the fuck out over the marijuana dispensaries, with emails like (everything [sic]): “I personally find it extraordinary that the Mayor thinks he can trump Federal law. And I am sick and disgusted over what the blocks of xxxx-xxxx East Hastings look like, and the businesses they support. Not only do we have at least two pot shops.. I refuse to call them dispensaries, but we have the Ramada social housing and we have the government office where social assistance cheques are picked up.” GASP! WON’T SOMEONE REFUSE TO THINK OF THE HUMANITY!
  • Everything the “community association” does is because “if we don’t do XYZ, the housing will become permanent”

Gross. Truly, horribly, gross. I don’t understand people at all. HOW can you be so against someone having basic human rights? For that matter, how can you be horrified that there are heavily regulated, no-minors-allowed weed stores in your area, but not give a rat’s ass that men are buying sex next door? People have gone on record saying they’re worried that the screened and monitored housing residents will include pedophiles looking to diddle their children – why aren’t they worried about the guys getting hand jobs instead? After all, the massage parlour closes at ten pm. What if someone come by at 10:30pm wanting a bbbj and ass-play only to find the parlour closed .. but little Jimmy and Susie are hanging out in the McDonald’s parking lot, and they got real purdy mouths? Why is no one concerned that someone going by the name “sex monster” is thinking about visiting the parlour and wants to know if the girls are any good? What if that person is truly a monster and goes all Godzilla on the precious neighbourhood? What if they’re Ed Gein? No, who cares about any of that – let’s instead threaten the people across the street who are simply trying to make a home for themselves. Makes perfect sense to me.

Do you want to know the biggest impact the housing across the street has had on me, personally?

It no longer makes sense that my wireless networks are called “Ramada Wireless” and “Ramada Guest Wi-Fi”.

That’s it. Oh, and no one threatens to snip my spine on a regular basis. It takes some getting used to.

NIMBYs, you are fucking disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

get off my lawn

The Motorcycle Toy Run is happening today, where hundreds of riders kickstart the holiday giving season by collecting toys for children who may go without. It’s a tradition amongst the BC Motorcycle Community, and like every year, this display of selfless giving and generosity has moved me to seething, foaming, incoherent, incontinent rage.

I fucking hate the Toy Run – not because I am the child-hating monster most people assume I am, but because it’s a police-escorted parade of excessive noise pollution at 9am on a Sunday morning. It’s several hours of penis-compensating baffled pipes, non-stop honking, car alarms, yelling, and meowing (Lemon is not a fan of the noise and would like me to do something about it) at my doorstep, and I hate the noise so much I want to scream (which would just create more noise and perhaps make people think I am being murdered).

I would gladly purchase all the new toys I could possibly afford to give to kids at Christmas if the noise would just GO THE FUCK AWAY.

This is the 4th Toy Run we’ve had the misfortune of being in the path of, and I am fucking sick of it. I’ve actually made an effort here – it’s a motorcycle thing. Ed and I both ride. If you can’t beat ’em, why not join ’em? I’d be a lot less aware of HOW FUCKING LOUD the damn ride is if I was in the middle of it with a teddy bear strapped to Lola .. but all the money collected by the BC Motorcycle Club doesn’t go into their web presence. I can’t find any clear information on how to join the ride, so every year around this time I sit in my house and just seethe and hate everything ever.

December will mark 5 years at Sparta, and I think that’s long enough. I’ve been trying to get Ed to at least think about relocating, but that would require him to do things, so he’s not keen on the idea. The longer I stay here, the more I dislike it – all the little things that have bugged me over the years are adding up into one giant temper tantrum that is going to need to be Dealt With in very, very short order.

I’m a reasonable person (shut up, I am) – I don’t expect to live in a harmonious bubble of silence and rainbows. My list of things I require in a home are not outlandish by any means:

  • Not at a major fucking intersection
  • Not at a pedestrian controlled crosswalk
  • Nowhere near a crosswalk that is patrolled by school children
  • Near a source of groceries
  • Not on a major street
  • Not at an onramp to the only highway in the city
  • Has a balcony I can actually use

See? Perfectly reasonable list. In fact, all the things that might bother a less-reasonable person have been quiet pleasant (or at least not any source of angst whatsoever):

  • Living in a McDonald’s parking lot
  • Living near the PNE
  • Being across the street from a temporary housing shelter for the homeless (there’ve actually been fewer questionable going-ons than before the shelter opened – “think of the children”, indeed)
  • Living above an actual rub n’ tug
  • Living above an actual rub n’ tug that doesn’t have semi-truck parking
  • Did I mention that men are paying to have their penises manipulated to ejaculation directly below my bedroom

I need a change. Before the end of 2014, I’ll have been in Vancouver for ten years, in this condo for 5 years, married for 12 years, and in a relationship for 17. I have an entire rainbow of fevers, from scarlet to cabin to jungle to bieber to yellow, purple, blue, and fucking plaid. Angst: I have it. Now, how do I get rid of it?

I am going to spend the rest of my Sunday in the blissful quiet of my own head, and also out in some fucking nature or something. Cheer me the fuck up, trees, or get the fuck off my lawn.