Sunday 29 December 2013

cakap cakap... We do not have a problem doing without things we cannot afford

Today I went for my evening walk with my wife. She needs the exercise and I have now learned to walk at her pace rather than ask her to keep up with me….this way she does not get too tired and she enjoys the walk more. Me? I just have to be patience and learn to walk at her pace.

As we walked I saw this man ahead of us. He was in shorts and short sleeved singlet pushing a shopping trolley with all his worldly possessions in the trolley. The wind was starting to blow and it was quiet chilly and I wondered when he would stop to put on something warmer. As if reading my mind he stopped and slip on a pullover. 

I knew he would be heading towards the nearby Sacred Church when a Soup Kitchen would be stationed from about 6.30pm onwards. There he could have a meal, hot coffee and some snacks to keep him going until the next day.

As I watched him I wonder how a man could become homeless when the State provides social security and welfare payments to unemployed and a pension for the aged. And then it dawned upon me….you cannot get welfare payment or a pension without an address or a roof over your head….and I am sure the man in front of us could not come up with even that most basic of requirement to get some payments from the government....and I sigh at the injustice of it all....those most deserving are being penalized most at the time of their greatest need.

I have lived without money and without food many times in the past but never without a roof over my head. I wish I could talk with him and see if there was anything I could do to assist him but from past experience I know that it would be better to leave him in his own world. Reluctantly my thoughts stopped thinking about the man and went back to my wife.

My wife remembered the large brown rabbit we saw on our walk yesterday and asked me if I had seen the rabbit this time around. We looked but I think the chilly wind had sent it into warmer quarters.

We continued our slow walk hand in hand and talked about how fortunate we are to have a decent apartment to live and enough decent food to eat. She still remembers that there have been times when we survived on Maggi Mee….fried Maggi Mee with lots of eggs and chicken seasoning to give it that oomph. Typically for most of the time I was doing the talking while she concentrate on walking.

This past one year has been good for us. We have not achieved anything spectacular but we have lived well and more important we have learned to live happy with what we have. Happy with not being able to get new clothes for any festive occasions. Happy with not buying presents for each other on birthdays. Happy with not having Pay TV…..even happy that all we can afford when we eat out is McDonalds or KFC or fast food outlets of that genre. We do not have a problem doing without things we cannot afford....right now I am in need of a belt because my old one (about 15  - yes fifteen years old - given by a friend who bought the belt as a present o me from London) is getting too small for my expanding waistline....but we manage. 

It was harder for me than for my wife because I have always been driven to do things that I want to do and get things that I want to get. Jaguars (all up I have had six of them), Citroens (three) and lots of cars….all up at one time or another I have owned all up about 60 cars.

And after a few years in one place I have always wanted to move to another city…..or another country. All told we have stayed in over forty houses in the past 40 years of our marriage!

Not anymore! The condition of my wife and my own physical self means we stay put in Melbourne.

The thing with living in a city or at the city fringes is that you are constantly challenged by noises. Cars, motorcycles, trams, police and ambulances with their sirens going full blasts and the noise of people living around you. We can shut everything out when we close our doors, windows and curtains but after a while we get use to the noise and not having it around us makes us uncomfortable – so we bring the noise back into our lives but the Harley Davidsons are very annoying!

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