After a very emotional, stressful few days last week I thought I had Saturday night off…
No one was around so I did something I never do usually.
I drank alone…thought I’d just have a couple of whiskeys and an old cigar I’d been saving (I gave up smoking a while ago) as treats, watch some junk TV and goto bed then wake up and visit the gym. I was feeling a bit guilty for not going for the whole of January.
Instead of the usual resolutions early in the year I carried on with the excess of Xmas until pretty much the end of the month.
However, after calling friends and family I think I had one too many…
I woke up on Sunday morning to find the following in the kitchen:
Hmm… I don’t actually remember ordering the kebab and burger but I do remember the bloody mary, well the first two.
This sort of freaked me out, then I noticed…
The deceptively small amp/speaker combo had been turned up pretty loud… I continued to freak out a bit more…
I checked the front door, no notes had been shoved under it telling me to stop being a loud drunken prick.
Phew, I thought, no foul…then after I got my shit together to go into town for a walk and gym, I closed the front door…and was confronted by a corridor half covered with chips, chilli sauce and meat! Aaarrggghhhh!
I must’ve, in my haste to shovel kebab in my face, dropped half of it on the way up.
I spun around, like the corridor police were about to pounce and got the dustpan and brush out of the flat and cleaned up.
It was only 8:30am so think I saved it, don’t think my neighbours read this either. Ahem…
Anyways, so off again. Was feeling a bit freaked out still but as a way of assuaging my guilt took the warmed up leftovers (not the swept up rubbish but the untouched stuff) out with me to give to any rough sleepers.
I’ve been giving cups of tea to homeless people in town for a while now.
One night I asked an ex army medic who was rough sleeping and had had the crap beaten out of him the night before if I could help him. He said he only wanted a cuppa and some water if possible.
So, thought I’d take a hot water flask, tea bags and disposable cups with me whenever I go into town where my gym is.
I head out feeling pretty energetic and there are hardly any people around, sweet!
I walk around for a bit trying to find someone to give food, tea and socks (I know, random but another rough sleeper I met said clean socks are always welcome) and it’s a bit weird, there aren’t any homeless…
When I was walking around the same area (Boar Lane, Leeds) before Xmas every single doorway had someone sleeping rough there. I couldn’t quite believe all of them had found places.
I keep walking and just off the main drag see a young homeless man sitting on the ground looking frozen. I approached him and asked him if he wanted tea. Burger, chips, cuppa and socks were dispensed. I then asked him what had happened to everyone else on the streets.
He told me the “redcoats” had been busy last night and moved loads on, so people having fun dancing and drinking in the city centre wouldn’t have to see them.
Leeds City Council employs people specifically to move rough sleepers to refuges (they wear red vests over their police type garb), however, the reality is that there are never enough places, so people just get displaced to other parts of the city, generally less affluent areas…
He then told me that there was a students’ convention in Leeds that weekend and he’d seen and heard loads of younger people chanting anti Trump slogans for most of the night.
This really annoyed me. Not the anti Trump sentiment, fair enough but this is England…
In my opinion, a social injustice was happening right here, right now. My taxes were paying for somebody to basically, muscle mostly vulnerable people, out of the way for students to protest about something happening thousands of miles away!
Is it just me that thinks that’s bonkers?!
I sat for a bit and chatted, well, ranted at my annoyance. Matthew, the young lad, was in agreement but not a great conversationalist and started going on about immigrants…not noticing the irony of blaming immigrants for his lot in life and drinking a cuppa made by the son of immigrants, I sighed, wished him well and walked on.
I gave up for a bit and went to the gym. I like treats, so pay to go to a city centre gym with a large pool and sauna.
Honestly, I really needed to feel better about myself and life in general, so was looking forward to doing something healthy and less destructive than drinking hard liquor and playing punk rock out of a 7th floor flat on my own.
I got into the changing room…there were loads of towels under a urinal that was leaking onto the floor, this was next to a toilet with an open door, full of crap! Grim… and I could feel the wetness between my toes…bbllleueueurrgghhh.
I had a shower before going into the pool.
I use those waterproof Sony Walkman things, so was listening to music all the time. Returning to less ranty, more centred, chilled out me. Breathe in, breathe out, feel the music.
I’m not that complicated, give me good music and a bath/ shower or that day, a swimming pool and a sauna, I’m chill.
No one seemed to want to talk in the sauna/ steam room and the jacuzzi was broken, so I just enjoyed the time.
I did chat to one bloke in the sauna who was from Clapham. He said he didn’t like it much in Leeds as he didn’t know anyone and people weren’t that friendly to him.
I agreed, it’s my experience since moving back up from London. Have lost count of the number of times I’ve smiled at someone and started chatting for them just to move away.
Maybe it’s just me again or my line of chat but am pretty sure when I did that in London in communal places where people were chilling out/ drinking/ dancing I had a better response, generally.
We chatted and when I couldn’t stand the heat in the sauna anymore, bade him farewell and said to persevere…(there’s always hope).
The changing room was not a nice experience on the way out, so I thought I’ll tell the lads that work there.
They said it’s nowt to do with them.
I told them it’s a bit rubbish paying monthly when something has not been working every day I’ve been in. I know it’s not their fault, it’s the company but come on…
Previously, water dripping out of the ceiling, broken water fountain things and I’d joined for less than a month when they closed the pool for six weeks! Which was the only reason I joined!
I left muttering about cancelling my membership.
Fortunately, the walkman thing had started playing classic Bowie, the sun was out and I managed to off load some more tea to rough sleepers. Although, the milk had spilt and mixed with a mystery banana in my bag…which wasn’t great.
So, I headed home and snagged some fodder from the shops on the way.
But just near the flat saw a figure with a placard in the distance. Intrigued I went closer, he was advertising a pre loved clothing sale where you buy by the kilo.
I offered a cuppa but basically had to twist his arm to accept one because he was one of those “right on” condescending students who only talked to people who looked like they’d spent hours trying to look like they’d just thrown on whatever they had on their halls floor…
He liked the flask idea and said why didn’t the homeless get offered placard carrying jobs, as it’s easy money for students.
Fair point, I shared the whole Leeds City Council redcoats thing with him and he seemed genuinely shocked. Spread the word, I said, go and help someone, raise awareness.
It was 11:30am by then and I’d had enough of the outside world by then, Sunday slouching, healthy food and advert free TV to follow 🙂
Hope you had a good weekend x