CABBIE’S COMMENT: Wherever I Lay My Hat

Dave Humphrey

Dave Humphrey - Credit: Archant

“He can afford cigarettes though” demanded my passenger. She was talking about the homeless guy dressed in a hi-viz jacket sitting in Fenland walk, March.

There was a cold wind swirling round teasing the drizzle in all directions and making escape from its wintery damp difficult. After a bitter night, the poor guy was now sitting on cold concrete in hope not all would hold an equally cold attitude and some would toss a few coins in his hat. And now the poor bugger is being begrudged a cigarette!

Not the first time you or I have heard this kind of comment relating to the homeless consuming cigarettes, alcohol or even drugs. Addiction, in all its forms, is classless and can make slaves of anyone! Rich, poor, black, white, gay or straight, all can become ensnarled and spend years unable to shake such uncontrollable dependence.

Is homelessness any different? Is it also not classless and willing to embrace the successful and unsuccessful alike? All it can take is one of life’s unexpected curve balls, maybe a personal tragedy or loss leading to a spiral of depression that ends up with them lying in the gutter. There are even estimated to be 7,000 ex-servicemen, whom, under a motive to protect our way of life, also now find themselves discarded and laying in the cold streets due to the emotional trauma the defence of our warm beds has cost them?

Addictions are often started and become an ever more decreasing temporary answer to an emptiness or feeling of something missing in our lives? So I find it fascinating why some feel as soon someone has EVERYTHING missing, and become homeless, they should be able to control their addictions better than anyone else.

Want to begrudge something? Begrudge a system that leaves the unfortunate and mentally ill in the cold. A system that sends brave men and women to war then leaves them tossed aside like a used Product. A system which, after irresponsibly making thousands homeless, graces greedy bankers with approaching a TRILLION pounds of our money, then to pay themselves billion’s in bonuses to live in the most unnecessary extravagance and vulgar wealth. All supported by the same system those discarded soldiers went to defend.

We like to think of ourselves as civilised, what’s civilised about that? Begrudge him a fag if you wish, but I know where my discontent sleeps.

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