rockin’ rob and the rat.

yesterday, on the bus up main street, i met a guy named rockin’ rob.
he has collected cans all over canada. worked for the eskimos, cleaning their dressing rooms and workout rooms. and currently sleeps in an enclave with two other sleepmates, “and a pigeon that keeps shitting on me.”

he had a plastic bag with a 6-pack in it and was holding a half-consumed jug of pomegranate growers he was currently working on. he offered me some, saying pomegranate is really good for you. i declined with a smile, but admired his forwardness in chugging it on public transit at one in the afternoon.

he apparantly rules the roost at the bc liquor store on cambie.
and there are three rules:
1. no yelling
2. no swearing at small children when they walk by.
3. don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground.
i told him these were pretty good rules.

a young tattooed street woman named tara got into the conversation, and in talking to her she revealed her pet rat hidden in her jacket.
at first, i pulled my head back, because rats are not meant to be in jackets.
but then she introduced him as starvin’ marvin’, and i asked about his eating habits, he likes fried chicken, so i joked he must be from the south. and i warmed to him, if only because this pet meant something to her, and maybe that should warrant some acceptance on my part.

rockin’ rob made us a date to go for brunch on cambie on sunday, and i told him i would need to bring my boyfriend (i don’t have one), and he said that was fine since my boyfriend could pay. i said he would since he’s really nice.
he mentioned something about burgers, and how he wasn’t sure you could want anything more in life if you have one. i agreed.

and as i got off, i waved. and wondered why i’m all too often the other people on the bus, giving the drunk the cold shoulder.

i think i should start spending sunday mornings on the hastings bus. talking to people that usually get the brunt of our ignorance and the most of our judgement.

like rockin’ rob.

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4 responses to “rockin’ rob and the rat.

  1. This is a such a beautiful story, told so well.

    I remember being at the beach one day and a homeless man was doing the rounds collecting money for a trip we was doing: circumnavigating Australia in a wheelchair. Apparently he was attempting to break a world record and raise a ton of cash for charity.

    Long story short, I watched as he received the cold shoulder from everyone around us, some of whom didn’t even acknowledge his presence, and when he came to my friend and I, infected toenails and all, we chatted with him for a while and heard his fascinating story. I think we can underestimate the power of seeing someone, I mean really seeing them.

    Reminds me of this short film: No Man Is An Island

  2. Loving the words as usual Dani. Hopefully we cross paths again soon!

  3. Amen girl. I love many rockin roberts, and always admire their lack of fear. To be afraid of the man is to be dead to life and suffocated by pride. If they’ve responded to society in ‘poor’ ways at least they’ve conquered this. And I’ve yet to live this, but think about it often…

  4. love this one. laughed out loud at the rat being from south because he likes fried chicken. you’re funny! haha

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