“I was adored once, too.” Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Twelve Night
The familiar sting of heat on his gnarled fingers as he pulled the well-used teabag from the chipped enamel mug on his small fire. The dirty creased face, the strands of straw in his hair. Someone from the nearby village walked by and nodded a greeting as he sat on the edge of the field. This tramp fitted this idealised bucolic scene, as a cheery aproned pig fits a butcher’s window.
Transport the derelict to an urban environment, however, and we have children staring and adults moving away from this smelly, menacing street presence. A blot on the city, a blot on all of our conscious. How did this happen? How can we allow this to continue?
The answer to the latter question is easier to come by, it is political divide-and-rule policies, but the answer to the former is of more interest to us here. Let us eavesdrop into the unfortunate’s thoughts for a moment.
At this moment he was thinking of his wife, his ex-wife. When they had the children they decided he would give up work and mind them full time; What joy that time was! But once they started school he found work hard to re-enter, no one willing to take him on again. After a few years this had a debilitating affect on him, and it was too much for her. She left. Eventually, over time, his precarious life and inability to remain close to the children led them all to drift apart. Rents increased, work became ever harder as his age continued to progress.
Of course this led to his first night out on the streets, that Rubicon crossed. It might well have been hard for him, and impossible for you, to imagine but it was all even further downhill from here.