SSS has been in cranky mode for a couple of weeks following a stupid shoulder injury. Two weeks later and the novelty of my little blue sling has most definately worn off, as has lifting things with my left arm. Still, life could be a lot worse.
Yesterday I was coming home from work (4 hours of light duties and 3 cups of tea later) through a 'lively' square of Sydney. I was gazing out of the bus window and found myself watching a man on the other side of the road. He was barefoot, clad in only a t shirt and trackpants and was walking in an agitated manner. He crossed the road and I got a good look at his face.It was a worried, angry face, his forehead seemed to be creased in a permanent frown and his thin lips were tightly pursed. It was impossible to tell how old he was, he could have been 25 or 55. He crossed the road and darted off down a side street and I found myself wondering how life had led this man to be wandering barefoot in busy traffic, presumably off his tits on drugs. I tried to picture him as a baby, hoping that at least then he might have been loved and then realising that a mothers love isn't a given for many people.
Some months previously I was in a pub just a stones throw away from my jumpy little man with a friend. We were gazing out of the window when we found ourselves watching a young man taking his clothes off on the corner of a busy road, oblivious to his surroundings. We watched as he stripped down to his underpants, plucking at his skin as if covered by tiny unseen insects. We watched as Sydney residents walked past this man without slowing their step or turning their heads. I picked up the 'phone and made a call, we carried on watching until the police arrived and ushered him into the van. He picked up his clothes and followed them like a child. Three days later my friend saw him again, 50 yards from his original position, wearing (or not) the same clothes and picking at the same imaginary insects.
Today I spend some time with a friend who has two young sons. They are healthy, happy and well loved. I can't imagine those boys ever living on the streets or selling themselves to get drugs, walking barefoot through busy traffic or being driven away in the back of a police van. But then in my innocence I hope the mothers of the two men I saw felt the same way.
Drug takers are the one group in society that I really can't stand. I loathe their manipulative behaviour and I look down on their lack of self control. I know this view isn't sympathetic or understanding, I know I should be more compassionate. I'm not. But then I hate alcoholics as well. A good friend of mine has a mother in law whose life has been ruined by alcohol. Aged 57 and looking like an 80 year old, she spends her pension on booze and goes without food. She lies. She steals. She has no friends. Still she drinks.
I am lucky (pious little thing that I am) that I'm a one pot screamer. God help me if I could actually drink like a fish. I'm lucky that I hate drugs. I'm lucky that I don't live on the streets. Now if my bloody shoulder would just sort itself out I'd be jumping for joy.
Anthony Bourdain's macaroni cheese
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