Sunday, 18 September 2016

Thought Picnic: My city of sights and sighs

Walk this way
On the rare occasion that I spend the weekend in what is essentially for me a hotel city, I could easily be at a loose end. Not given to much rigorous exercise until those who I have asked to teach me how to swim, find the time to send me the forms and offer me a slot, I go for walks.
Night time walks around the city can be interesting and it could be anything from 90 minutes to two hours. Easy, unaided, purposeful and consequently tiring.
Obstructions abound
On this walk, I took a different route, up the road to a section that was buzzing with more activity than I thought was possible, loud music, people outside smoking, pavements impassable, you wonder what the bouncers are there for if the patrons of the establishments they work for, block the public freeways.
Anyone who had to navigate the city in a wheelchair will probably not venture out again after one night of running the gauntlet of unreasonable and inconsiderate human impediments.
The result of excess
Of the people, in interesting states of dress and wear brought on by the excess of party, drink, food, drug and whatever else, there is much you probably would not like to see. A lady wearing one high-heeled shoe with the other in her hand, a wobbly gait that would make a silent movie a hit.
Across the road is the indulgence of emesis, the effluent of which, some hapless fellow will step into with the very likelihood of capturing the sensation of a waterslide, forget the stench. Others with eyes glazed, words slurred, gaits unsteady, just coherent enough to call out their home address before the slump in the backseat of an Uber cab. What a night, it must have been.
Emerging for emergency
The night is busy, blaring sirens of ambulances and police cars piercing the night with an uneasy cacophony in a rush to incident, accident, disturbance or crime. The price of peace is hardly won in tranquillity.
Then down the road where both police and ambulance were stayed, the aftermath was a van over a motorcycle, the rider probably survived, but very likely will see the hospital before getting home in a week, if lucky.
You can never say whether it was inconsideration, indifference, distraction or impatience, but at that time of the night, dangers lurk and so the need for more care from all users of the roads.
On reflection
I have my vices, but they are neither of drink, of substance nor of inhalation, I wear my sobriety in many places like a middle-aged man yet to lose his virginity, unaware of any of the whys and wherefores of what others over-indulge in that they are non compos mentis.
My vice is of the hidden sort, acquired at a time when I had no choice, an innocence lost to the pleasure of another and from that issues that have me railing against those who freely take advantage and face very little consequence.
Silent amongst the revellers in some doorways, however, are other people without choice, a blight on our consciences and society, the homeless verging on the helpless. We may never hear their story beyond a plea for spare change or a light for a cigarette, we have a great city of sights and sighs; may we find more sights than sighs, lifting all in aim and cause for the pursuit of happiness.

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