All posts by Sergio

Busy times, busy people, busy minds

A few days ago I encountered a homeless man near Moorgate Station. It was 1.30am or so, and I was there ’cause I’d completed a random shift at The Water Poet that day (7.5 pounds an hour for just collecting and washing glasses, not bad). It was too late to take the Underground, and I don’t know shit about the buses, so I just got a little bit…lost. It was very dark, I was in a city I don’t really know in a country I’m new to, in a part of that city that was completely alien to me until that day and I was nervous as hell. It may seem ridiculous, but it certainly wasn’t a pleasant experience for me.

But let’s go back to the homeless guy.

He approached me very slowly, smile in his face – not a creepy smile, really, just a warm one – and probably cold to his bones. He talked to me with a very good British accent, using a polite way of speaking, with learned words. He was short, white bearded and very thin. He introduced himself, but apologized and didn’t give me his hand because it was “too dirty”, and then started to ask me if I could buy him some food at Sainsbury’s.

But then he stopped the talk, and frowned. He looked at me and asked if I was lost.

I smiled then and, of course, said “yes”. At this point he started to apologize again because he said he was putting his own problems above mine. He started to ask me what I needed, told me that he knew the bus system, all that kind of thing.

So, at that point, I sort of stopped listening to him. I knew that he’d help me for sure; of course, he had nothing better to do, and helping me could result in a grateful person with money in his pockets. So, instead of listening, I started to think about all the other people I’d approached myself, asking for help.

They numbered five, until the homeless guy showed up.

Two of them just told me something like “busy, sorry” as they walked by, phone in hand and with the same tired face I probably had on. One of them listened to me, but as he didn’t know the place where I live, he just told me that he couldn’t be of any help. The other two didn’t even reply to my “excuse me”.

And that, so far, is the one and only fucking crap thing that I hate about London. I won’t say “people are shit”, no; the main problem is our jobs. There’s always a lot more work that must be done, at all times, in all places. Talking about London is talking about busy times, busy people, busy minds. People tend to act cold because they’re just too tired to be anything else, and only fucking homeless people have the will to be kind or careful with strangers because, of course, they don’t have a job that’s draining their entirely lives out its bodies.

It’s hilarious.

I don’t know if I’m right or wrong. And of course, I can’t say that every homeless person and every random worker is exactly like this, but the truth is that I got home that night because that guy helped me, and the others just didn’t have the time needed to even listen to my words. It was very sad. I thought of it all the way home, and not in a good mood. It all seemed sad as hell.

And yes, I bought food for the guy.

The might of a beaten kitty

I’m nearly 1,800 miles away from my home. And the thing is, I love it.

I’m Spanish and my country has plenty of beautiful places, people and of course food. We all know that, because that’s what the adverts say. It’s supposed that we have a beautiful culture, and nature too. And the weather. All that crap.

Well, some of those things may be true. Maybe. But the fact is that, over everything, Spain has failed the Spanish people.

That may sound redundant; a smart ass could probably say that Spain’s made of Spanish people, so they’d be failing themselves. But the truth is that we’re not talking here about commoners. Not in this case, not in 2015.

Today, Spain’s not what Spanish people once built up, but a pale shadow of everything it could have been. And the big deal’s all about confidence. Confidence in a bunch of leaders that smiled a fucking lot when they talked about their new ideas to promote our economy, when they talked about not leaving any youngster without a job to get started in life or a proper and cheap student education that could bring them an even better lifestyle. But nope. My generation… maybe we’d be able to do it in another lifetime.

Their smiles are as fake as their words when their wives ask them if they look fat in that dress they’ve just bought with our money. And yeah, they’re mostly males, and their wives are all fat. Consequences of getting rich, I think. I’m not sure at all. I’ve never had the chance of being rich. I had no opportunities, as I couldn’t even afford a proper education at university. And anyway, I don’t think it would have help that much; it’s a loud-voice secret that Spanish education has a shitty reputation, and that’s totally fair. We have a shitty educational system wherein mechanical memorisation is the main priority.

And that’s why I’m here in London. My homeland is a battlefield in which there’s just two big political groups that somehow tricked us to continuously vote them for years, and all they did is throw red and blue coloured shits to each other the whole time (that’s their colours, very original). The one throwing blue shits is a conservative political group, and they’re always trying to fuck up things with women rights and that thing about killing foetuses. The one with the red shits may seem so communistic and all that, but they love money just like the others. They pretend they are with the proletarian guys and all those nice things, but they’re as blue as the blues. It’s just another mask.

They’ve been at it for ten years or so. And nobody ever asked why. When they started with this kind of pathetic behaviour, I was a child, and I just thought it was okay, because it just seemed how things should work. Just that. It was okay because it was normal. I got used to it as I developed my own thoughts. But, of course, most of us get to the point of maturity and so I did, and then I realized how mistaken I was. How stupid I was. And that’s why I ask myself now if all this is our fault or not. Was the smart ass right? I mean, is Spain made out of Spanish people? Even our leaders? After all, we could have done it like the Greeks, and got rid of them.

But we never did. And that’s why I am here in London, raging about my own country with the might of a beaten kitty.