At nine in the evening on the twelfth of October, the junkies, dealers, pimps, and prostitutes were only just beginning to congregate in full force in front of the Carnegie Center on Main and Hastings, catty-corner to the Vancouver Police Museum.
Many locals—the ones with addictions more manageable, hidden, and socially acceptable (like, say, shoes)—believed this ironic juxtaposition of law and disorder was a sure sign that the rag-tag denizens of this corner were thumbing their chafed and dripping noses at all that was good and decent in This Great City. It proved, at the very least, that this human blight was at some basic level the direct consequence of the deliberate, asocial choices of the streetwalkers. These were not animals, after all. They were there across from a symbol of law, order, and civic responsibility by choice.
To demonstrate they were aware and disapproved of this fact, the upstanding citizens of the city of Vancouver made it a point to drive their vehicles straight through this intersection (doors locked, of course), even when it would have been significantly less repulsive to go around. They were realists, after all, and this was part of the reality of living in a city ranked by The Economist magazine as the "World's Most Livable City of 2011." You cannot expect to have such superb living conditions—lovely natural surroundings, exceptional infrastructure, beautiful people, and a relatively low population density—without a bit of fraying at the edges.
Nicole remembered this as she reached up with her left hand to pull her black, crushed-wool pea coat a little more tightly to her neck. She drove slowly across the intersection; pausing briefly to avoid coming too close to a heavily bearded man who was zig-zagging in the general direction of the opposite curb. Nicole was a beautiful, talented, well-educated young woman. This was her night (well, one of them, anyways) and she wasn’t about to let anything get in the way of a fabulous time with her likewise fabulous friends.