Monday, June 16, 2014

Hard times, Come again no more...

Late afternoon on Sunday. Sitting in my car...chatting on the phone to my friend...beautiful Perth winter afternoon, bright as bright could as blue could be...and warm in the sun.
I'm parked outside Nandos, Subway, Wok in a Box, Pasta Cup and Liquorland. Hungry Jack's is about 100 metres away. I'm joking with my friend about whether or not I could eat a meatball sub while driving and not get it all over my front and give the game away.
My window is down.  A man sees me and comes right up to the window and tells me that he's trying to get some food...could I help him? My Rick will tell you that I'm like the Queen in as much as neither of us carry cash. But today I have a $10 note and so I give it to him...he kisses my hand and God Blesses me and I tell him to never mind that, just go and eat. And that's exactly what he did. 

I don't want to make a drama out of it but I have to say that he and his situation has stayed with me. 

A comfortable suburb in the richest state in the Lucky Country. 

And a man finds himself in the situation where he has to rely on a stranger in order to eat. 

Before I jump to conclusions about how he lived I think it's likely that he didn't ever have enough cash to do what he needed to do in the first place. And I have to confess that I watched carefully to see that he did buy food with the $10 ($10!!! The princely sum...). The story I was telling myself about him was all about drink and drugs.

And he was hungry. 

To be honest with you, I'm not really that fussed about what the circumstances were that brought him to that point...I don't really care if he drinks or uses drugs or just squanders his cash. But I am bothered that, in the midst of all our excess, someone is hungry. And I'm troubled that the solution he finds for his hunger only serves to stigmatise him.

I hear my friends and family in the UK talk about how things are there. How tight it is with families relying on food banks for basic provisions. I hear all the stuff that's been said here about how we all have to share the pain that will result from the last Budget. But I know that we won't all share that will be the people on the edges who'll feel it most...the people who are already feeling pretty stretched and threadbare. That makes me angry and sad.

You won't be surprised to know that I don't have any answers, but here's a song that expresses my thoughts and concerns. Those of us not yet suffering might think on...