Friday, March 09, 2007

Sat 24th Feb 07

While I write about the dramatic highlights of the day, I am still quite busy and active in the other times. I do spend a lot of time just sitting quietly with people, as well as chatting, going to churches, meetings, catching up with non street friends, and of course blogging. It took me 2 months to finish the St.Francis book(about 300 pages) and I enjoyed reading it when I had spare time! My typical day would be: get up around 7am, sit for an hour, meet up with some of the alcoholics (that always start drinking at 8am), talk to some people at any one of a number of charities (they mostly open from 10am to 1pm), do some Internet and blogging at the State Library early arvo, have a nap on some grass somewhere late arvo, there are a range of early evening activities(street related) to choose from depending on the day of the week, the late food van gatherings (8pm to 10pm), sit on the Steps and talk or sit at the Meeting place(10pm to 12am), and then hang out around HJs until about 2am before finding a spot to sleep.

My average weekly sleeping pattern (the most common question I get) is usually: Sleep rough three nights a week, stay up all night and get some sleep on the grass during the day twice a week, meet some friends for tv night (and stay over) once a week, and stay the night at the invitation of another friend(generic) once every couple of weeks. (I generally have a number of open offers to visit friends for the night, which I like to use when I haven't had a break for a while as they are always such stimulating catch ups and refreshing sleeps.)

There was a state wide gathering of scouts today, for their 100th anniversary. The street was closed off and there were kids everywhere. Dougy was half pissed and, shirt off, was happily staggering around the kids on the street, saying hello. I kept beside him smiling and waving at the leaders to assure them he was ok and no threat. The kids were curious at him and not too worried, innocence can be happy and peaceful but I'd rather be aware. I wonder if that means I think Adam and Eve eating the apple was a good thing?

In the afternoon I was sitting with Dougy and another guy who had both gone to sleep on their benches, after drinking too much. Along came the Indigenous Elder that broke up the fight between Dougy and Troy last weekend. (Actually Troy is gone permanently now as he beat up a guy on the Steps and stomped on his head [all on camera] and as the guy lay there bleeding he pulled out a police badge, he was off duty. Realising he just beat up a cop, Troy ran for the hills and hasn't been seen since.) The Elder slapped Dougy on the back, hard, saying "Wake up to yourself!" but Dougy didn't move. He looked at me and, seeing my bucket, asked me to go and fill it with some ice, and then he would be able to wake them up. As I was agreeing to find some ice he picked up my personal bag and said "I'll hold on to this until you get back, I'll be up near the Church" and he walked off. Right, what was I to do? I didn't have any money to buy any ice and I didn't want to go to the HJs refill machine and stick a bucket under it.. but I needed to complete this mission to get my bag back (please Lord..).

I went over to HJs and had a look at the refill machine. To my relief the catchment tray underneath the refill taps was full of spilt drink and ice! I got a used cup and scooped the ice into my bucket and then did the same with the refill machine on the other side of the store, which was busy enough that no one seemed to notice what I was doing. I filled up the bucket over half way. Happy, I headed back across the road and looked for the Elder. He was no where to be seen. I headed up to the Church and again he was not in sight. I wandered around the general area for about an hour getting stressed that I had just lost all my stuff, and wondering if I had been tricked so he could take my bag without any objection. I went and sat back at the Church in despair.

Next thing I new the Elder walked out of the Church with a staff member, hugged him and happily swapped my bag back for the bucket of ice. We headed back to the benches and he scooped out a handful of ice and held it against the first guy's face. Instantly the guy jerked, convulsed and sprang up to his feet shaking his head and spluttering. (he he..) Then the Elder went and held the ice against Dougy's face and.. not even a murmur. He held it there for about a minute but Dougy slept on and so the Elder sat down, pulled a bottle of port out of his pocket, took a sip, and then stuck it in the bucket of ice, at his feet.

A while later others had joined us and Dougy was awake. I needed to go to a friend's birthday party but was waiting for the Elder to finish with the bucket. In the end I got up and said goodbye and told the Elder he was welcome to keep the bucket. He got up and hugged me and said "from now on your name is Magic!" and then told everyone else that from now on they had to call me Magic. (I was a little unhappy about it as 'magic' is a non Christian supernatural term, but perhaps it meant something else in the Aboriginal language?) Then I headed off to the party, where I shook my stuff with a Turkish belly dancer.

(I later replaced the bucket with one from Safeway for 99cents, which I got the money for from the people standing in the express lane. It was my first 'begging' experience! or, as I prefer, 'fund raising' experience. On the street it's called 'coal biting'.)

1 comment:

becrowe said...

Hey mate, great to see you the other night. How good was Celeste!?! Wow!

Hey - will you let us know, in a future blog, how that girl is (if you know). The one who got beaten up? That story made me really sad... but what made me even more sad was the nasty comment that was left in response to that entry. If it makes you feel any better, I don't think you talk yourself up too much or anything like that. You simply report the truth back to all your faithful readers!! As Tim said, it IS an inspiring story! Stay well and safe mate. Cheers, Bec.