VANCOUVER

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

Santa, Timeless

Last year I went to Metrotown for the first time in my life to interview Santa, but I got too stoned before hand and got all nervous and chickened out. This year I stayed straight and got the job done. It was rewarding.

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Rachel, Airline Passenger, 27

Rachel, 27

Rachel, 27, was sitting next to me during my flight from Chicago to North Carolina last Wednesday.

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Moondog, professional wrestler and computer programmer, 30

Moondog photo by Chuck Ansbacher

Moondog, professional wrestler and computer programmer, 30

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Perfume Saleswoman, The Bay, 50

Chuck Ansbacher photo

Perfume Saleswoman, The Bay, 50

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Neetai, Hare Krishna, 32

Neetai is a Hare Krishna. He’s 32.

ONLY: What do you think is the best Halloween costume ever?
Neetai: The best Halloween costume I’ve ever heard of is someone dressing up as a Hare Krishna.
ONLY: Really? You wouldn’t find that offensive at all?
N: Ha ha. No, not at all.
ONLY: At what age did you stop trick-or-treating?
N: I can’t remember.
ONLY: Were you 13 or six or…
N: It’s not really a significant moment in my life.
ONLY: Well, at what age did you become a Hare Krishna?
N: I was 23.
ONLY: And how did that come about?
N: I met somebody who was a vegetarian—Hare Krishnas are vegetarian—and he was serving some vegetarian food at an event that I was at, and I was attracted to what they were cooking.
ONLY: So it was the food that initially attracted you to the religion.
N: Pretty much.
ONLY: So what are Hare Krishnas all about?
N: We’re into, like, chanting. Meditation and chanting. And mostly we chant the Hare Krishna mantra, which is, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,” and those are the names of God, so basically we’re into getting people to chant the name of God.
ONLY: Do you think that scary costumes or slutty costumes are better?
N: Um… Well I’m a monk, right? How do you think a monk would respond to that?
ONLY: I imagine you’d probably say neither. Maybe a pleasant costume?
N: Or maybe an inspirational one, like a Hare Krishna.

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George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC-TV host, 34

George Stroumboulopoulos

On Thursday night, we went to the opening gala for the VIFF. Disappointed by the lack of minor Canadian celebrities and feeling emboldened by all the really free booze, I saw hunky George standing around and decided to chat him up. I was drunk, he was straight-edge sober, and by the end of the night we were arguing on a Granville Island pier and he straight-faced compared U2 to God.

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Paul, Victory Square Attendant, 53

Victory Square toilet by Chuck Ansbacher

Paul wasn’t into having his photo taken, so this is a picture of the booth he hangs out in day to day.

ONLY: How long have you been doing this job for?
PAUL: Four years.
O: Are you the first person to do this job?
P: No.
O: How did you get the job?
P: I took a course.
O: What sort of stuff do you deal with here day to day?
P: Oh basically it’s just clean up – make sure the place is safe and secure for everyone to use.
O: Is there anything that you dislike about this job?
P: Sometimes you get into verbal arguments.
O: Where do you live?
P: A couple blocks away.
O: What did you do before this job?
P: When I first graduated from college I worked at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver. I was a janitor there. I did that for a year and came here.
O: And what did you do before that?
P: I was on welfare.
O: What do you do when you aren’t here? What are your hobbies?
P: Oh I’m into computers, martial arts, camping…
O: What kind of martial arts?
P: Internal arts.
O: Like what?
P: Like Qigong.
O: What is that?
P: It’s strengthening exercises for your mind, body and spirit.
O: What would you like to see done for the city of Vancouver?
P: More of these.
O: Bore bathrooms?
P: Yeah.

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Spencer

Chuck’s Cousin

ONLY: Did anything happen with this guy where in retrospect you went, “Wow that was a pedophile thing”?
Spencer: Um, he was kind of nice. I think a bit too nice… I heard a story about this girl once who had a dance instructor, and he was always nice to her – she always got the best marks and stuff like that. And he invited her into this special dance program, and of course she accepted, and then she was getting a bit suspicious, but she finally sued the guy when he asked her to eat a Smartie off his tongue.

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Gerald, 50

Chuck Ansbacher photo

Gerald passes out copies of 24 at the Burrard Skytrain station. He’s 50.

A few days ago I did some work on my bicycle at that spot on Hastings and got my hands all dirty, so I dipped into the bathrooms at Victory Square to give them a wash. I brought my bike down with me, and just as I leaned it against the wall, this old guy taking a piss in a urinal turned his head and yelled “no bikes!” in this gruff, old guy voice. I just stared at him. Again, he yelled “no bikes!” Crazy dude. “What do you, work here?” I aked. Then he turned around and showed me his name tag. He was the bathroom attendant. I felt like a dick and apologized lots. I wanted to talk to him in here and let him bitch about things, but when I went there to interview him he wasn’t there. Bummer. So I went to the Burrard SkyTrain Station and interviewed Gerald instead.

Only: How does it feel to be working for the number one paper in Vancouver?
Gerald: It’s good. It’s a fun job.
Only: Nice to be outside during the summer?
Gerald: Yeah, but it’s horrible in the winter.
Only: How do you stay warm during the winter?
Gerald: Uh… you dress warm. Try to keep dry.
Only: You’re usually here with someone who hands out the Metro too, right?
Gerald: Uh…no. No, I’ve never seen a Metro.
Only: Do you ever talk to anyone handing out the Metro?
Gerald: I’ve never even seen one. They’re different time schedules than us.
Only: Well you guys have better Sudoku puzzles.
Gerald: The who?
Only: The Sudoku puzzles?
Gerald: ...
Only: You never do the Sudoku puzzles?
Gerald: No.

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Edgar, 28

Edgar, 28

Edgar tries to lure people in to Kalypso – the Greek restaurant on Robson – by dressing in uniform and promising free homous or tzatziki with the purchase of an entree. He’s 28.

ONLY: Where are you from originally?
Edgar: Mexico.
ONLY: And why this job?
Edgar: I try to bring people inside. Try to talk to them, try to show the menu.
ONLY: Did you know the guys that own this place before you got the job?
Edgar: Yeah I’ve known them for almost six years.
ONLY: And what does the uniform represent?
Edgar: This is a traditional Greek costume. Military.
ONLY: What do you think about having to wear this kind of uniform for your job?
Edgar: Oh I don’t mind it. For people it’s very easy to recognise. A lot of people like it, and then they come to the restaurant. There’s a lot of restaurants around here.
ONLY: Did you ever see Fast Times at Ridgemont High?
Edgar: No.
ONLY: When Brad gets fired from All American Burger and has to take that job where he has to dress up as a pirate?
Edgar: No, but I like this kind of a job. You can meet a lot of people — different kinds of people. You get to meet actors and meet friends. It’s nice. And I can practice my English, which is good for me.
ONLY: Do you like bubble tea?
Edgar: Yeah.
ONLY: What’s your favourite flavour?
Edgar: Um… Green tea.
ONLY: Yeah I like the green tea too. I just had one. I’m full of pearls.
Edgar: I like it it’s so good. I’m waiting for summer to start buying them.
ONLY: You ever drink mango nectar?
Edgar: No.
ONLY: Oh I’m hooked on it these days. If you like mangos…
Edgar: I’m going to try it then.

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