I was walking through downtown after dropping someone off at the ferry terminal. I decided I needed a coffee, and so hit up a favourite place on the edge of Chinatown. From there, it is only a couple blocks to a bus stop where the bus that drops me practically at my front door stops.
As I walked through the square, I noticed a crowd of people gathering under an overhang. Not yet close enough to see what it was, I initially thought it was the Sunday market gone into overtime. As I drew closer, I saw that it was something else entirely. I began to suspect it was CARTS as I started to recognize some of the individuals standing around. It was interesting to see clients I am used to seeing at the Shelters in another context entirely.
I continued on to the bus stop, wondering if I should say hi. Obviously that would be weird and a complete breach of confidentiality, so I did not. Some of the individuals drifted over to the bus stop and loitered for a while before crossing Douglas St to another part of town. Others I have seen since, wandering around town. Many do not recognize me from shift to shift at the shelter, so I am not sure why I think they might recognize me outside of the shelter. If they did recognize me, I don’t think that would make any difference to how I reacted. Once again, however, I am struck by how thin the line is that separates me from them.