Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
I was standing outside the pub last night having a fag, when I saw a junkie girl who - for various reasons - I have come to say hello to, and she shouted out the season's greetings to me.
I called her over, as I had planned to give her a bit of money the next time I saw her, so it wasn't a spur of the moment or whimsical act when I gave her a tenner at the same time as returning the greeting.
I was with H.I. the previous time we met on the street, and she asked me how I came to be on first-name terms with her. I explained that she was the ex-girlfriend of another junkie, and he was the one that I had tried to save from freezing to death on the pavement last year by going out, waking him up, wrapping a space-blanket around him and buying him something to eat.
She had turned up as I returned with the burger and chips and, because she still actually liked the bloke at that point, was grateful on his behalf for my concern. Previously she had stopped a different comrade from asking me for money by saying, "Don't bother with him. I know him. He wouldn't give anything to anyone".
The one on the pavement had explained to me that he had nowhere safe to live, but was trying to raise the money to buy a caravan which was parked on a derelict piece of industrial wasteland. The caravan would cost £10. I gave him £5 toward it, hoping that might be a spur to raising the other five. There was freezing fog and minus 8 temperatures at the time.
Six months later, I ran into the girl again, and asked if he had bought the caravan. "He's still looking for the £10", she explained with a knowing look on her face.
When I went home from the pub last night, he was still sitting there in the same place as last year, with a bit of wet cardboard wrapped around his knees. He looked up to me, but ever since last year, he now only says "Hello mate", and never asks me for money.
When I got home, I told H.I. that I had given the girl a tenner and she asked why, adding that she would only spend it on drugs.
Well none of us give up anything for Christmas do we? We tend to make promises we cannot keep sometime around January the first, and ingest twice as much of everything in the run-up to the new year, don't we?
Years ago, I was approached by an old, Scottish derelict on the street, and he said, "I'm not going to insult your intelligence by asking for money for food or whatever. I am an alcoholic. I need money to buy myself some drink". That refreshing approach worked on me, but only once.
About a year ago, the girl had been pushing around a pram with a small child in it, but I have not seen the child for quite a while. I don't think that she is the type to pay a babysitter while she goes into town to sell the Big Issue or beg.
They say that the best presents come in small packages, but you never know, she may get something to eat. Either way, this isn't the time of year to be judgemental.