“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain
Thirteen days into 2017, a white person attacked me (during a conversation he started) for talking about the quantum field. That’s where my love life is, I insisted. He didn’t get it.
The conversation started out with him whining about his job. Then suddenly I was being attacked for being a capitalist and a racist. I admittedly had no idea that the whole “you create your own reality” shtick mimicked capitalism.
What Whitey didn’t know, however, was that in November 2014 I attempted to teach an Indigenous man on the street—Moon Dog—about quantum principles. I told him to start imagining his way out of his hardship, like I was attempting to do.
“No,” Moon Dog said firmly, “you don’t understand.”
He was right. I didn’t understand, but Moon Dog still smoked his joint with me anyways.
The white person who attacked me had also never spent a Christmas alone, and as such it never occurred to him to forego family dinner to feed Indigenous people on the street. On the evening of December 25, 2016, I modestly fed Moon Dog, Yvonne and an unnamed white guy. The streets in Victoria that evening were cold and relatively barren.
“It’s getting harder and harder for people to find me,” Moon Dog said as we hugged.
“I walked downtown hoping to find you,” I said to Moon Dog.
We weren’t standing together for long before an Indigenous woman named Yvonne joined the party. Yvonne didn’t consume substances, but she was crushed that her kid wanted nothing to do with her on Christmas. She had spent all her money on everybody else, and had nothing left for herself. Nobody gave her anything, she said.
“Do you want some Brussel sprouts?” I asked Yvonne, reaching into a plastic bag for a care package. I had enough Brussel sprouts to make up six small packages. Each care package consisted of Brussel sprouts, strawberries, chocolates, and a joint. Yvonne was stunned.
“What can I give you in return?” She asked, reaching into her pocket as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Nothing!” I exclaimed.
“You mean this is free love?” she asked.
“Free love!” I declared.
Yvonne was floored that I wanted nothing in return for the meager serving of Brussel sprouts. We hugged at least six times.
Before Moon Dog and I walked up to Centennial Square to smoke a joint together, we stopped in front of Shoppers where the lone white guy sat. I gave the guy a care package, while Moon Dog dropped the change he had collected into the white guy’s hat. We all wished one another a Merry Christmas, then Moon Dog and I carried on.
I can’t help but consider story time with Moon Dog, who’s in his fifties, a privilege as well as a good opportunity to practice my listening skills. Did you know that “listen” and “silent” share the same letters?
After Moon Dog and I sat down on a bench in Centennial Square, he gave me shit for my posture.
“I told you to start sleeping on better pillows,” he reprimanded.
Moon Dog is a healer. When we first met in 2014, Moon Dog stopped me on the street and asked me if I would smoke weed with him in a nearby park. I obliged. I bought him rolling papers and a lighter, and we walked to the park where he proceeded to give me a postural assessment. I don’t recall telling Moon Dog that I had been in a rather traumatic car accident, and he didn’t tell me that he was “uneducated” or illiterate, yet he instinctively placed my body back into alignment. He told me to get a better bed. I was fresh off the boat onto disability, but I didn’t tell Moon Dog that either.
Moon Dog, a bona fide body worker, understandably refuses to work at McDonald’s. I remember at my first and only income assistance group intake meeting, a guy younger than most of us telling us that he wasn’t the Ministry and wouldn’t tell any of us to work at McDonald’s like our case workers did. Moon Dog hasn’t spoken to me about residential school or the sixties scoop, but he did tell me the last time I sat down with him that he was getting his mind straight and that he’s not ready to go yet.
“I’ll just have to live with this pain,” he said.
Moon Dog’s life has been rifled with injury. Apparently he and a friend are banned from Yates Street in downtown Victoria. He said they walked into one of the theatres downtown without paying for the movie. They were minding their business when the police were eventually called because they refused to leave. A couple behind Moon Dog and his friend offered up a free pair of tickets, he said, so that the gentlemen could stay and enjoy the movie. The “owner,” however, wanted them gone. Moon Dog said that the police didn’t say anything to him and his companion about the beer they were drinking. They got to keep their beer, but they couldn’t stay to watch a movie that the couple behind them offered to pay for. Moon Dog said that the “owner” of the theatre also owns Yates Street, and banned them from both. Apparently police are upholding the ban.
“Yates Street will miss me,” Moon Dog said.
I don’t know; I’m inclined to believe Moon Dog. Regardless, I figure if you’re rich enough to own an entire city block worth of buildings—including a movie theatre—then you’re probably rich enough to let Indigenous people watch movies at your theatre for free.