Saturday, December 06, 2008

Vignette

Story in today's City section of the Ottawa Citizen about a guy who managed to get a public housing apartment, which he proceeded to use as a storage locker, while living elsewhere. Yes, yes, it's "our tax dollars at work" and all that, and the upshot was that Ottawa Community Housing has finally decided to evict him, but that's not what interested me in the story. It's the final paragraphs, which provide a little vignette of what life is becoming for the poor in this city:
“I don’t have to live in fear anymore,” said Mr. Wiper.

Well, at least not the fear of fire. Mr. Wiper has other fears — the ones that don’t usually make the paper in a town like Ottawa.

Up until six weeks ago, Mr. Wiper carried a Louisville Slugger baseball bat when he went downstairs to get his mail for protection against the crack dealers. He no longer uses the laundry room because he got rattled after too many times of being called a “white bastard.” He still uses the elevator to his 11th floor apartment, but will only ride it alone after being called an “infidel.”
The writer is correct - this doesn't usually get publicly admitted in Ottawa, but it's true nonetheless.

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