Saturday, July 18, 2015


Some moments in life stay with you.

There's a local street guy I see around, in various states of psychosis or inebriation. Sometimes he's well behaved, just clearly insane, but somehow aware of how correct behaviour should be. I've seen him rage on the streets. I've seen him cry. I've seen him plead for a sandwich or a piece of toast, because I am homeless and please help me.

He came into the cafe recently and asked if we could spare a couple of pieces of vegemite toast. He was expecting to be brushed off, waved away. He's jittery and twitchy and knows how the world is. No one has any time for him. Life is miserable, for him. There is no food and no shelter for him. Love and affection? When was the last time he felt love and affection?

You can't encourage these people, you understand. We have a business to run. Every day right now is a struggle. And the guy has been in before. He got his sandwich that time too, that time bought by a kind-hearted doctor.


I gave him his vegemite toast. His state was calm that day. He said thank you. He said “I'm good like that, I'm good when I'm good.” And he left. I watched him walk down the street, tearing open the bag to tuck into his warm vegemite toast on this chilly winter day.

Next day, on my walk home from my cosy cafe to my warm home, I saw him again. He was in the worst state I've seen him. Carrying his half loaf of bread, he stumbled in circles, didn't know what the hell was going on. He dropped his bread, picked it up again. Staggered and stumbled. He bumped into me, said he was sorry.

I kept going but had to wait at the intersection. Behind me now, the guy stumbled forward and hit his head on the traffic light pole. He exploded. “CUNTS! YOU ARE ALL SUCH FUCKING CUNTS AND I FUCKING HATE YOU!” His voice was raw. There was a raw gash under one eye, but it was not a fresh wound. He hurled his bread into the busy intersection of traffic, people in their cosy cars going to their warm homes.

“I fucking hate you. I really do.”

He crumpled to the footpath.

The traffic light changed, and I looked away. I looked ahead and crossed the road and kept walking towards my cosy and warm home.

And I didn't feel happy or blessed and the moral of the story isn't that we should all appreciate what precious things we have, I just felt like shit.

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