Friday, October 14, 2011
Finished our first week of practicum tonight. Gathered at The Cambie pub just outside of Gastown with other student teachers to celebrate and shoot the shite.
The Cambie is a hole, a block away from the Worst Neighbourhood in North America, and the only reason to go there is because it's 3 blocks from Waterfront Skytrain station and because the pitchers are $12, which is about as cheap as it gets in Canada.
There were about 20 of us there tonight, and it was a good time - time to regroup and time to check-in and see how everyone's doing thus far.
We are all in our teacher gear - mine consisting of the unapologetic sweater vest and collared shirt.
I make my way to the men's washroom, which previously looked a lot like what you see in the photo below. You can see the rusting communal waterfall urinal situation they had going on for some time, but what you can't see are the blocked toilets in stalls with half-doors so as to prevent dudes from shooting heroin on the premises.
Well, it's all changed. Gone is the graffiti, the rusty spots beside the urinal, and the possibility of users cluttering-up the stalls, all because The Cambie has installed two important deterrents: beefy bouncers at the front door, and kind warning signs saying that people who report graffiti or damage in the rest rooms will get their bar tab taken care of... or something like that.
So, sweater vest and all, I head into the restroom which now sports tiled walls, new marble sinks, and an imposing stainless steel waterfall for the new urinal, and I assume my place at the far left end of the peeing wall. Two Cambie regulars come in and take-up their place beside me. The "Cambie regular" can be recognized as one with a bandanna, a leather jacket, heroin tracks, a goatee on a wizened skeletal visage, or any combination of the above.
So, while nervously releasing, I notice Cambie regular to my right nudge his friend, motion with his head toward me, and say "That guy's the reason we got these new pissers..."
Perhaps it really was an army of bookish and plaid-clad teacher types who marched en masse to the Cambie to demand better conditions for making water, but more likely it was just the fact that when one operates a beer-serving establishment, and one serves it cheaply enough to force one's customer base to empty their bladders almost every 30 minutes on a good night, one shouldn't force them to cross into the 9th circle of hell to do what comes naturally. We're not animals, man.