Monday, March 21, 2005

Grumpy Old Woman (Gimme Shelter)

Friday night, I watched a programme on TV which started to make my blood boil. Well, I say "watched"...if playing solitatire on playandwin whilst vaguely glancing over the top of the laptop counts as "watching", I certainly heard every word.

Everyone's a hypocrit, even if they don't admit it. Some people have very strong views and for the most part, even if I don't agree with them, the stronger and more forthright the views, the more I admire them.

Janet Street-Porter is an exception to my rule.

Janet was accosted by a beggar at an ATM, and she told them exactly what she thought - that basically this person was a sponger off hard-working, tax-paying, honest, upright citizens. Apparently the whole queue applauded.

I wouldn't have done had I been there. If I wasn't such a wuss, and I were as forthright as Ms Street-Porter, I would have said 'There but for the Grace of God, go I'.

Of course, Janet is an atheist, so maybe in retrospect, that should be, 'There but for Janet's ego go I'....

Janet could have been right. He could have been a dirty rotten opportunist, who didn't want to work and was happy to receive anything that was chucked his way, provided it kept him in speed and cider.

On the other hand, he could have been a guy who had had the shit kicked out of him by his father, competely disregarded and shunned by his mother, had been on the streets for some years and was starving hungry most days, and out of desperation, tried to beg money from people in an ATM queue.

What bugs me most of all is people like Janet who tar everyone with the same brush. Like the fact she calls all men wasters. It takes two to make a marriage.

I shamed myself on Friday, actually. There's a guy who I sometimes buy the Big Issue from in my local high street, but I've ignored him for weeks, all because my friends take the piss out of me for doing so. Yet, his type of begging is of a higher level than the guy in the ATM queue, and invariably, these guys have a home or a hostel.

Are these guys wasters too Janet?

Like Janet, I grew up in a fairly middle class family, and had all the opportunities, including university, should I have wanted to take them. I also had a loving home, with no threats of violence or abuse. I could have done so much more with my life and taken avenues that Janet travelled down. She thinks she's lived. She hasn't, and neither have I.

I believe in a form of fate, but some people have less roads to choose than others. They end up on the street as they felt they have no choice. I could have done too, but because of my avenues of opportunity, it was never ever a serious option. I am blessed.

And because I am a Christian (of sorts), there but for the Grace of God, go I.

1 comment:

dams of IYT said...

wow - 1st commentator!!

read orwell's "down & out in paris & london"? gives one a unique perspective on life on the streets.

people differ on whether there was an element of fiction in orwell's account. besides, life must have changed immensely since orwell's time. still, many things have probably remained same or at least similar in the outline if not in detail.

the book's available for free online at