Haley

HALEY RETKA IS AN ACCOUNTANT. SHE IS 20.

ONLY: Did you get anything good today at Value Village?

Haley: No, I was looking for an RF Modulator for my ghetto TV and didn’t find anything.

ONLY: RF modulator, I don’t even know what that is. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever bought?

H: A series of Jacques Cousteau books about exploring the sea.

ONLY: Is exploring the sea a hobby or career related?

H: Fantasy, I’m an accountant.

ONLY: What’s your favorite part about being an accountant?

H: The fact that everything adds up at the end of the day, and I get to sit on my ass.

ONLY: Would you rather do that or be an ocean explorer?

H: You’d get to wear sweet swimsuits and drive an awesome ocean explorer, but I don’t really like swimming that much.

ONLY: So you’d rather be an accountant?

H: I had to set aside all those sea dreams when I dedicated my life to numbers.

ONLY: Wow, you’re kind of like a superhero.

H: Yup, I know.

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Anne

Anne Larson is a clairvoyant.

ONLY: Do you think it’s possible to time travel?

Anne: I as such don’t believe in time travel, it would be how you define it. I believe that everyone is capable of astral travel. It really isn’t that time involved, it’s more travel involved. I have been known to purposefully leave my body and go and visit friends’ homes, been aware of what’s going on in their homes, leave some kind of indication that I was there and then come back and re-enter my body. So yes, it is possible, but when we’re talking about something like this we’re talking about the spirit. Time is man-made.

ONLY: But technically, if you can have out of body experiences, can’t you travel into the future or the past?

A: The mind can, but we don’t actually move. What we’re doing is going back into memories. And that doesn’t necessarily mean memories from just this lifetime. As far as the future goes, we can’t foresee the future. In fact, in Canada there is still a criminal code and the witchcraft act that we can be put in prison for trying to foretell the future. It was just removed a few years ago in England, and none of us have gotten together to remove it here. Clairvoyantly, you may be given glimpses of something to come in the near future, I would say up to a couple years ahead. If a person continues on the path that they’re on right now, this is a possible ending. We can’t see the future because it’s yours to create.

ONLY: What are your thoughts on drug-induced out of body experiences, like with peyote spirit quests?

A: It’s very dangerous, because what you are doing is altering the chemistry in your body. You don’t know how much is hallucination, how much is your mind and how much is your higher self. I would say on the other hand that when you do some of this work, you do get a kind of high because you go into such a calm beautiful state. You don’t need drugs.

ONLY: How does the whole process of astral projecting work, and how do you go about learning to do it?

A: For everyone it’s a little different, but basically you have to be consciously able to put your body into a relaxed state and then with the education or evolution of your spirit, you can remove yourself from the physical.

ONLY: Are there any dangers to astral projecting?

A: There are some pitfalls. Number one, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may have trouble getting back into your body properly. Once many years ago I had the experience of waking up from a sleep, realizing that I wasn’t in my body and not being able to get back in. There was a problem; someone else was occupying it. So that’s very rare. Possession or obsession is fairly uncommon, but there is that potential. And if you’re dabbling in something you don’t understand, it’s like driving a car without a license.

ONLY: Theoretically, if scientists did create a time machine, do you think it would be a good idea or a bad one?

A: Why do we want to time travel? We’re here to experience this lifetime and even if we were able to time travel, how far ahead do we want to go? Even in the sci-fi movies that you see, people don’t adapt to living a different time. Even moving to a different country is very difficult. There would be no benefit because it’s the here and now that’s most important for the growth of the soul.

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Steve

STEVEN ROMANIUK IS A MECHANIC. HE IS 29.

ONLY: Do you think that time travel is possible?

Steven: Yes I do, mostly because of Back to the Future. It made me want to believe.

ONLY: How long do you think it will be until we have time machines?

S: We might already have them, you never know. The DeLorean was made a long time ago, and there are things about it that we don’t even know about.

ONLY: If you had a time machine and you could go back in time, where would you go?

S: I’d go back five minutes and say that I don’t want to do this interview. Or maybe the plague days.

ONLY: Why the plague days? That doesn’t make any sense.

S: Because I could go to England when everyone was getting sick and laugh at them ‘cause I’d be immune.

ONLY: Are there any terrible points in your life that you wish you had time machine so you could go back and fix them?

S: Probably meeting my girlfriend. If I could fast forward past that it would be awesome. Damn cheating girlfriends. I can give you her name to put in if you want.

ONLY: No, I don’t think so. Any other time travel thoughts?

S: If they started make the DeLorean again, time travel would be completely possible. They could go and dig up Christoper Lloyd out of the graveyard and make a new one.

ONLY: I think he’s still alive.

S: Who cares, he’s probably fucking dead.

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Frank

Frank Gilbert is a Taxidermist. He is 60.

ONLY: How long have you been into taxidermy?

FRANK: Well, I’m 60 now and I’ve been doing it since I was 11, so I reckon that’d be 49 years.

ONLY: How did you get into it in the first place?

F: I just had a total interest in wildlife and. It’s the love of my life doing this work.

ONLY: What’s your favorite animal you’ve ever worked on?

F: I can’t say I have a favorite, I enjoy them all. They’re individual animals and each one gets its amount of time required.

ONLY: Are there any animals you’d like to work on that you haven’t yet?

F: I like the big cats, those I’d like to do. There are some big sheep from around the world that I’d like to work with.

ONLY: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?

F: A lot of thinking, looking at pictures, studying animals when I’m out hunting or whatever. You get an idea of the animal’s attitudes expressions and whatnot and you try to portray them.

ONLY: What’s the hardest animal to work on?

F: Something that’s badly beat up. We get a lot of road kill, birds and whatnot and some of them are pretty difficult to do. I think everything has its quirks, I wouldn’t say there is anything that’s more difficult than others, just more time consuming and bigger.

ONLY: I heard about something called rogue taxidermy, where they make mythical animals out of a mix of animal parts, what do you think about that?

F: I’m not one who really goes in for that kind of thing. I’ve not done it, I like the animals for what they are and try to portray them that way.

ONLY: Do you listen to music while you’re working?

F: Mostly I listen to talk radio. It keeps me thinking.

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JACQUES

Jacques Was Selling Books on the Sidewalk on Commercial Drive. He is 70.

ONLY: What is your name?

JAQUES: Jacques Alexandre Michel Cote-DeVille. DeVille because I am a duke. A French duke.

ONLY: You’re a French Duke? What does that mean exactly?

J: Well, what does that mean? I am related to the King of France, Louis XVI. Because my ancestor, she was the sister of Louis XVI. But she has been guillotined, you know that, yeah?

ONLY: Okay, so you’re sort of like royalty then?

J: Yes, yes, but I don’t care about that, you know. I am human being like you, like everyone else!

ONLY: Have you gotten any benefits through that of any kind?

J: Yes, I have got some benefit because I got back the castle from my ancestor—my son is an architect and he’s taking care of it. And I work a few years in Dubai—maybe you know Dubai?

ONLY: Yes.

J: I worked there and I bought my own castle, but small one.

ONLY: What do you do now then?

J: Now you can see me I am selling a few things I have because I am cleaning my apartment and things like that. But I have my own office. You know that sometime [movies] need somebody for languages? When actors they don’t speak it, and they have to say something in French? That is what I do, once in a while.

ONLY: What languages do you speak?

J: OK, firstly I speak Arabic, because I was born in an Arabic country. I speak Italian, Spanish, French, English, and German.

ONLY: Wow!

J: Yes.

ONLY: Do you want to give a message to Vancouver in Arabic?

J: It’s not necessary.

ONLY: Any other language?

J: Je pense que Vancouver—j’espere que ca sera mieux dans le futur, qu’il y aura moins de crimes, et que what we need is love, compassion, peace, is what I am for, you know? Because I am for Greenpeace, I don’t know you, but I love Greenpeace. I am for peace, for love, things like that, compassion, and, is what I do, you know? Yeah. The most important in life is love and compassion, you know right?

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RACHEL

RACHEL WORKS AT THE FLOWER STAND AT COMMERCIAL SKYTRAIN STATION. SHE’S 21.

ONLY: How long have you been selling flowers here for?

R: I started about a year ago, at this stand. There was a “Help Wanted” sign in the stand downtown, and so I gave them a resume and they called me back that night. And it’s really a lot of fun actually.

ONLY: What is fun about it?

R: It’s just nice to be around beautiful things all day that smell really nice, and it’s nice being able to be creative.

ONLY: How do you get to use your creativity?

R: Well it’s really nice when people are, you know, they don’t really know what they want and they’re just kinda like “Just go for it!” It’s fun to be able to do that.

ONLY: What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had?

R: I dunno, I think I like having the freedom to make a really big bouquet. That doesn’t happen too too often, but if someone says “Okay, I have sixty dollars to spend, just put something together, anything you want”, it’s kinda like [makes an excited noise]. That’s really a lot of fun. It doesn’t happen too often. It happened last week, a guy that came, it was actually pretty late at night, 9:00 or something, and he said “Okay, make this,” and I said “Alright!”. That’s probably my favourite thing.

ONLY: What are you interests besides flowers?

R: I like to read. I really love animals, I grew up on a farm. I don’t actually have an animal right now, a dog or a cat, so I’m kind of sad. I like to visit the SPCA and cuddle with critters down there.

ONLY: You said you like to read, who is your favourite author?

R: I don’t know if I have a favourite, but I just finished reading James Frey’s My Friend Leonard, and that was really good.

ONLY: Oh, the same guy who wrote—

R: A Million Little Pieces, yup.

ONLY: Did you read that as well?

R: Yeah I did, yup.

ONLY: What did you think about the whole controversy with the memoir not being factual or whatever?

R: I think most of the controversy was about his police record, that’s what he kinda fibbed about a bit. I mean honestly, I don’t think that’s what the book was about, his time in jail, it wasn’t about what he did, it was just I think the experience he had as a drug addict going through rehab, and I think that’s the important part of the whole story. I’d read anything else he wrote!

ONLY: Do you have a message for the people of Vancouver?

R: Buy flowers! Even if you think they’re expensive, or you know, you think they’re just cut flowers, they’re not going to last—they will last, and they’ll brighten up a room, and they’ll make you smile!

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SCOTT

SCOTT WAS ENJOYING THE SUN ON A PARK BENCH IN KITSILANO. HE’S 38.

ONLY: What’s your favourite kind of music?

S: Psychedelic trance.

ONLY: Really?

S: Yep.

ONLY: How did you become exposed to that?

S: Well, I have friends who are rainbow kids, hippies. So I started going down to trance nights, I took a couple others. I just ended up going and having a great time.

ONLY: Dancing or what?

S: I didn’t used to like to dance. The first night that I went I was looking around, I’m seeing all these hippies playing drums, and smoking their glass pipes in the club, all around the dance floor, people—freaks of all sorts—just enjoying themselves, getting right off on it, right? I started dancing, and then I let go. I was training with a Shaolin master at the time, so body movement was something that I—

ONLY: You were training?

S: With a Shaolin master.

ONLY: Oh really?

S: Someone who grew up in the temple in China.

ONLY: Wait, how do you train to do that?

S: Well, what do you mean, how do you train?

ONLY: You said someone who grew up…

S: In a temple. In a Shaolin temple, Buddhist temple, where they practice martial arts.

ONLY: But you didn’t…

S: I didn’t grow up in a temple, no.

ONLY: So then how do you train to do that?

S: What do you mean, how do I train? He wasn’t in the temple anymore, he was here running an acupuncture clinic. And I got lucky and met him.

ONLY: Right…

S: This guy grew up with Jet Li. Jet Li is an actual Buddhist monk, as well. [They] were the same age, they grew up together. It’s pretty amazing to see first hand watch someone like that move. It’s like nothing else. Do you listen to trance music?

ONLY: Umm, well I listen to some electronic music. I like trance in certain situations.

S: Have you heard of Organix?

ONLY: Yes I have.

S: I recommend going there for your first party. It’s a fabulous experience.

ONLY: What makes it so great?

S: Energy. You feel the energy of the whole place, the people. Spiritual, that’s what it’s about, the warrior’s beat. The reason that it uses the warrior’s beat is that it’s the most primal rhythm we can know. When you’re in your mother’s womb, the last thirty days, your heart beat is at about 140 beats per minute. Some people a little more, some a little less. When you’re in your twenties, if you’re a young warrior dancing for six hours, then your heart beat levels out to about 140. There’s no rhythym more primal than that.

ONLY: So you could almost say your connection to trance is biological?

S: All our ancestors have known that rhythm. Every last one of us. So it’s primal. It’s deep inside you. It brings a lot of experience from within, from around you. Is this recording?

ONLY: Yeah it is.

S: Good.

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Russell

Russell climbs up poles for spare change. He is 42.

ONLY: Why do you climb up poles?

RUSSELL: I used to make really good money, but now the police department have told everybody not to give me money to climb poles. It’s not illegal, but if I had broken that light I could be charged with mischief. I used to do really well of Friday and Saturday nights, but now I don’t do very well.

ONLY: What do you do otherwise? Where do you live?

R: I used to play guitar. I live in the Downtown East Side.

ONLY: What is your favourite thing about Vancouver.

R: ...The disability. I have schizophrenia, so they pay my rent and give me some money. It runs out half way through though.

ONLY: What is your least favourite thing about Vancouver?

R: I don’t know. The rain I guess, but I don’t want to put the rain down.

ONLY: If you could be doing anything right now, what would you be doing?

R: I’d be playing guitar.

ONLY: Who are your guitar heroes?

R: It used to be Jimmy Page, but now it’s Jay Gilmour from Pink Floyd. He’s the greatest rock and roll guitar player I think.

ONLY: What’s your favourite Floyd album?

R: Um, it’s hard to say… The Wall. “Hey You” and “Comfortably Numb.” You know those songs? They have amazing guitar playing.

ONLY: Do you have any message for the people of Vancouver?

R: Yeah be careful about video, because there are evil people who are using computers to slander people and mislead people, and getting people to believe lies. So be careful of audio and video in this day and age.

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Lucy

Lucy, 20. She's lost.

Lucy was lost in Vancouver on a Saturday. She is 20.

ONLY: Where are you trying to go?

Lucy: I’m trying to find the T&T grocery store. Is it supposed to be here?

ONLY: Oh you’re really close, don’t worry.

L: On the map it looks to be right here.

ONLY: Here, we’ll walk and talk. Are you a student?
L: Yes.

ONLY: How long have you lived here for?

L: I moved here only in September.

ONLY: What do you think of Vancouver so far?

L: Oh I like it very much.

ONLY: What would you say are Vancouver’s biggest problems right now?

L: Um… I don’t think it has any problems.

ONLY: Really?

L: I’m very happy here.

ONLY: Yeah yeah, me too. But still. Not one problem?

L: I was just lost, but I’m fine now.

ONLY: Ok. Um, what are you shopping for today?

L: I am… Ha. I don’t know how to say in English I don’t think.

ONLY: You’re doing really well though.

L: Oh. Thank you so much.

ONLY: You’re welcome. What is your favorite thing to do here?

L: I am studying always. But I like going to eat. Singing.

ONLY: Well, here we are. This place has lots of crazy fish.

L: Yes I think so. Okay! Thank you!

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Tom, waiting for a passport, 36

Tom, waiting for a passport, 36

ONLY: Did you know that the line was going to be this
long?

Tom: No, I had no clue. I would have packed a lunch or
brought coffee or something. Even something to read
would have been nice.

ONLY: How have you been passing the time?

T: Well, I read the paper. Both papers.

ONLY: Anything good?

T: Actually there was an article about how ridiculously
long the line has been to get a new passport. I wish they
had printed that yesterday or something, eh?

ONLY: I guess.

T: I’ve also got my PDA, so I’ve been able to send some
emails.

ONLY: What kind do you have? [Tom pulls out some
kind of Blackberry and shows it to me.] Nice.

T: It’s kept me sane in this line.

ONLY: You gonna get an iPhone?

T: Bah. I don’t want to get into it.

ONLY: You don’t want—

T: God I don’t know. Hey do you think I can go down to
that A&W to get some food? Will you watch my spot?

ONLY: Yeah no problem. But hey, just answer some
more questions.

T: I don’t get this, though. What do you care about me?

ONLY: It’s like a guy on the street sort of deal. You
know?

T: Yeah yeah. So what do you want to know?

ONLY: Well, what did you have for breakfast?

T: I juiced. I juice for every breakfast, as often as I can
at least.

ONLY: Juice, like carrot juice?

T: No, like ‘roids. Ha ha! I’m just joking. Yeah I had car-
rot apple beet juice.

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