About half way between West End and Commercial Drive the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes — a desolate hole where junkies grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where rich yuppies take the forms of poor hipsters and own million dollar condos that open into piles of dogshit and finally, men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest atop the ash-gray men, who scream their obscured cries while their brethren shrink away from sight. But below the gray skies and abreast the spasms of bleak crackheads which drift endlessly below it, you perceive, after a moment, the wallets of rich tourists. The wallets of rich tourists fat and gigantic—to those on the street they seem one yard wide. These tourists look no one in the face, but, instead, hail enormous yellow cabs which pass by the seemingly nonexistent junkies. Evidently some wild wag of a bar sits close to them, there to fatten its practice on these wealthy and obliging beasts, and here we’ll drink ourselves into eternal blindness, or forget them and move away. But our eyes, dimmed a little by many luscious drinks, will guide us under sun and rain, to brood over another solemn dumping ground.
This is the Gatsby saunter.