Homeless in Vancouver: A binner checking the trapline

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      The habit among homeless people and binners is to re-purpose things. This applies to language as well as garbage.

      So a shopping cart becomes a "house" and wherever a person sleeps rough can be styled a “campsite”. The things people leave beside the garbage are referred to as “tips” and the people who regularly give returnable bottles to binners become “customers”.

      A binner may refer to the route he regularly picks returnable bottles and cans along as his “trapline”, but he doesn’t necessarily say that he checks that trapline; rather he might “mow the grass” and he probably then tells other binners he encounter to “quit mowin’ my grass!”

      And when older street people in Vancouver refer to “spiders”, there’s a good chance they’re referring to the dribble of alcohol often left in discarded liquor and wine bottles.

      This spider’s bin busy

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Real spiders are all walk and no talk. They know nothing of the verbal silliness binners and homeless people get up to. But spiders do know about recycling and garbage bins—good places to catch flies.

      I’ve seen spiders try to maintain webs across the mouth of container recycling bins. Yesterday I saw that a spider had strung a line between two back-to-back container recycling bins.

      Hard to photograph—the little geezil kept shuttling back and forth along the line between the two bins. 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.