Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Margaret owed us nothing.

A “K-Rd Icon” has gone.
Every single time I walked along K-Rd, Margaret was there.

Some days I walked lost in my own thoughts.
Sometimes I was angry about something in my life, sometimes filled with joy.
Margaret was just as much a person as I and her moods fluctuated also.
She and I had a tentative understanding (dependant on how her day was going as to how well she remembered) that I never had any cigarettes, but I was sometimes good for cake, if I was coming back from a cafe.
She never did seem particularly interested in the cake itself, but gave me her time and respect when I greeted her with it. Not that I expected it. Goodness knows how she got to where she was, but she sure as hell didn’t owe me anything.

I went to her memorial page on face book and was surprised by the comments.
Not by the number, because when you hang out in the same place every day asking for something, chatting to people, smoking and occasionally yelling, people will remember you.
I was surprised by the Shit quality of remembering.
The number of people who didn’t know her name in spite of the fact it was the first thing she told anyone.
Her identity was as important to her, as mine is to me.

The number of people who said she was ‘rude’ and in the next sentence explained it was because she didn’t thank them for cigarettes they gave her.
What was she to you? A performing monkey? If she MUST thank you for a cigarette, what MUST she do for food, shelter, or your transient interest in her?

The number of people that seemed to think that if you give someone something they owe you their time and respect baffled me. Not because I don’t agree that respect and good manners are important, but these are the same people who would quite happily accept a free drink at a bar and get pissy if the offer came with conditions.
So why don’t THEY owe others anything for gestures of kindness, yet our underprivileged community are expected to bow and scrape like serfs to their overlords.

Tomorrow, when you are around town smile at your transient/homeless/addict neighbour.
Learn their name.
Find out how their day was.
Give them something and don’t pause for them to feel like they owe you thanks.

And any time - If you give, give from your heart.
Without asking in return.


  1. Thanks for saying this Scube. I don't know the person in question, but heard her talked about on the radio today, people rhapsodizing about her like their 20 seconds/$2 they DEIGNED to give her every now and then made them bloody saints. It was typical "don't speak ill of the dead"/look what a good little charity giver I am that got me to thinking "Well, if she was as troubled as so many people made her out to be WHY THE HECK DIDN'T YOU SPEAK BETTER OF HER, DO BETTER FOR HER WHEN SHE WAS ALIVE? Yeah, it pissed me off that people were using her as a prop to show how 'nice' they can be to the homeless and/or those with mental health issues. Bet they really wouldn't give a shit about mental health charities/education or city mission or similar.

    Yes, and these were the same said DJs who would drop casual yuks about "crazy Charlie Sheen" and say things like "that's so gay/lame".

  2. Thanks for this. I was trying to understand why I felt weird about the memorials, and you and Amanda have articulated what I was thinking perfectly!


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