West Adelaide and Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Collapsed on a hustling sidewalk in Toronto.
Thousands of Torontonians walk around him in the hour I witness. Every single pedestrian notices him, it's impossible not to. His face is concealed by a hood. This man could be your father, brother or son. At least check his face to see if you know him!⠀
⠀ His unresponsive body is cold and limp. Pupils constricted. How long he has been here? "This man needs help can I use your phone" is not a phrase the locals respond to as I am ignored thrice. He needs a naloxone injection like a banker needs a paycheck.⠀
⠀ At first I thought he was lost but it quickly became clear he was stranded. Stranded by a society that does not value productivity insolvency. A stripped gear does not increase output of the GDP machine. Socially invisible. "Not my problem". Perhaps less afraid of him and more afraid of what he represents. Abject failure to integrate into the social network. His presence on the sidewalk incites unwelcome introspective thoughts inside us. The concept of an old man dying man alone far away from anyone who ever loved him forces each passerby to assess their reflection in the ego-mirror and review how they define success. "Could this be me next week?". A quick text to a loved one acts as acute chemical absorbance for this aberration.⠀
⠀ I put him in the safety position and leave. This is not a Toronto I expected, the ugly downside of a culture of non-hostility /involvement and assembly line social introversion. I refuse to believe something like this could happen back home in the more dense and extroverted midtown or downtown Manhattan. People have died unnoticed in NYC in their taxis, tents or sitting on the metro but never laying on a busy sidewalk in an unnatural position at noon. A new low for humanity and the "first world". I am done taking photographs for the day. Even though I left him he stays with me the whole rest of the trip.⠀