Well I have just finished reading ‘A street cat called Bob’ and not just because its about one man and his Cat, which I Love but because it really hit home with something i didn’t even realise!
He talks about being a homeless person and how its hard to bring yourself back into reality when you don’t feel part of it, and I did always have the opinion when in debates that I didn’t understand how people ended up on the street – but after being a young teenage who’s parents went through a really MESSY divorce and got pulled through it all – I started to get it. As I got older I didn’t understand how they couldn’t get back off the streets – anyways back to the point James makes in the book is that as a homeless person they start to disappear right before peoples eyes. When you could be sitting outside the busiest station in central London at rush hour and not one person will smile at you or acknowledge you are there – you start to forget your identity, that you are a person and the reality of the world! (ill let that sink in… like it did for me)
Well shit! I honestly didn’t think about it but yes hands up i am guilty of it, and not for malicious reasons but because i am afraid my face will be full of pity which helps noone or that if i meet their eyes i have to give them money.
But that has changed since reading the book – i refuse to be that ignorant and i would never want anyone to feel like that. Smile and whole world smiles with you! So i now try to smile or give a tiny bit or even say hello to the homeless guy i see every morning and every walk back from work outside Holborn station. I see some people give him hot drinks or food in the morning – but i haven’t worked up the confidence to do that yet.
The other thing the book shed some light on was that The Big Issue is not a free magazine – its not something they get handed. To be a Big Issue seller you have to buy every single copy and manage it like a business – buy to many and you make a loss if you end up not selling them as every day a new mag is out and you have to buy again. Buy too few and you loose a sale because you cant meet the demand. I just wish there was a MASSIVE sign someone explaining that this isnt just a hand out this is something that is helping them manage their money, bring them back into the world of balance and also keeping them clean because if you are incoherent or abusive you wont sell them or you wont remember to buy enough. And many homeless people have animals that depend on them – Like Bob the cat, and they have to make a certain amount to feed them plus their animals. Certainly makes me think about when i have that £2 in my purse to go and get one – but its so hard when StyleList ShortList etc etc are thrust into your hand morning, noon and night you just take that as your reading. But i am determined to buy one whenever i can now and to look the guy in the eye and have a chat! I mean haven’t we all learnt how tolerant and diverse we are since seeing the Olympics held in London. Come on people get with the programme!
But to defend some of the people out their there are other reasons sometimes you walk past – you are in your own world and yes i am better off than any homeless person, sometimes my world is too much for even me and i just tune everyone out even my own head! the headphone goes in and the world is blinkered. Everyones problems are just as big as everyone else’s because they are your own and no one else can judge how they effect you – so to you being in your overdraft could be as stressful as to someone else who has just got their first credit card bill. Different but as stressful for that person.
Its just sad that as the headphones go in we do loose touch with people, when there in i can hear him asking for money, i cant here someone grumbling because i stepped on their toe on the tube – and thats probably not a good thing because we miss things! I mean if someone was shouting for help would you hear them?
If i can do it so can you! And now you know about the points made by James and about the Big Issue you have no excuse!