Day 191 of 366: Blog Challenge

Hello all from Perth!

I got to meet the Archbishop of Perth!

Do you know, as much as we have been enjoying some high cultural pursuits lately, real life is never far away bringing us down to earth in a heartbeat is it?

You see, we had planned a morning indulging ourselves in artistic pursuits by going to the Perth Cultural Centre when we had an encounter on one of the many free buses in the City when our artistic mindset took a battering for the worse. What happened?

A homeless lady on the bus was eating her breakfast out of a Chinese take-away container when, like a cultural terrorist, she took over the bus with her demands!

As she put a deep-fried tidbit into her mouth, she yelled out to a Chinese lady hogging a spare seat nearby: “YOU!” she screamed, “move over and let this lady here with her child standing, sit down!!” The seat hogger pretended not to hear, so the homeless lady tried again. “Lady, move over, do ya hear? No one is going to BITE you.” Still no response.

Not to be daunted, the homeless lady (HL) yelled even louder: “Do as you’re told NOW!” In the crowded bus people looked at each other with raised eyebrows but said nothing. It was becoming quite embarrassing by this time but still the seat hogger refused to budge.

Giving up the HL decided to target a well-off looking lady alighting the bus and so she yelled: “Hey, give me $40 and you’ll have a friend for life!” Being ignored she downgraded the request: “Hey, $10 will do …”  Between all this talking, noodles and deep-fried items continued to be consumed.

At this point, we escaped the bus and headed for the Cultural Centre saying “well, that was a good way to start a morning of high culture!”

The thing was we had encountered a homeless man on the way home yesterday on the free bus. You know the usual: long dirty beard, long dirty finger-nails, smelly etc. He was very helpful giving us all kinds of information that we didn’t need or want, like the fact that he’d been all day at the hospital and ”they’ wanted to charge him $6.50 to watch TV in their Lounge Room. He was so miffed that he said “No thanks, I’ll go home (if there WAS indeed a home to go to!)

He also informed us he wouldn’t pass any germs on to us (I was sitting on the seat next to him) as his cough was really asthma and he waxed lyrical about a few other things and we listened and were nice to him, even when he pointed a very long dirty nail at our map to point out a place to go …

You see, Geoff and I have a theory about all these homeless people who ride the free buses but I will explain this later.

We came across a third homeless person (a man) whilst waiting for a bus today at the beach-side suburb of Scarborough. We approached the bus stop to catch the bus home when he called out to me: “Hello Mum! I want to go home. I want a dollar!” I ignored this and so he turned his attention to Geoff: “Hello Dad” he said “are YOU listening?”

Luckily for us the bus came at that moment and he did not get on so we escaped. Now, our theory is that the homeless people ride the free buses in this bitterly cold weather (13 degrees max today) in order to keep warm. Think about it? Beats being on the streets … plus you get to talk to plenty of people at the same time. And, if you are like the homeless lady earlier, you have so much power and can hold the entire bus captive when you become the ‘seat police.’

Of course, our day out and about in freezing Perth today has been good: art gallery and then a trip to City Beach etc, but it’s always the unusual people you meet along the way that you remember most.

And like I said in the beginning, if we get too high and mighty real life comes along to intervene. Homeless people are still PEOPLE, and regardless of how we regard them, I do believe we have a duty to treat them with as much respect as we can … even though it’s a bit tricky sometimes on how to do so!

So all the cultural pursuits in the world should never take us out of the real world where sometimes, things are not as nice as we would like them to be. For instance, on Sunday we ‘happened’ upon a High Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral being said (and sung) by the new Archbishop of Perth: Timothy Costelloe.

St Mary’s Cathedral: inside is beautiful …

Oh, it was all very fancy with pomp and ceremony inside the most beautiful Cathedral you will see in a long time and we loved it. But, before the Mass begun and as we were walking into the Cathedral, an Italian man outside the door was ‘farting’ loudly (to put it bluntly) and Geoff and I thought we heard wrongly until, he cocked his backside for good effect and did it again … only louder still!

Do you see what I mean? What possessed him? Oh but we laughed later! All these things folks, is keeping us with our feet firmly on the ground. If we get any feelings of grandeur whatsoever, it soon disappears when we realise that we cannot judge anyone.

Oh, but it’s so much fun in the real world isn’t it?