July 10, 2014

More germs

 

 

Bleagh.  I’m frelling ill again/still.  I hadn’t really finished getting over the thrice blasted stomach flu—which kept kind of circling back and biting me—and I’ve now got one of those sore throats where you feel like your throat was attacked by a cheese grater and then set fire to.  Plus the shakes and shivers that tend to go with.  Arrrgh.  YOU KNOW THERE’S A DOWN SIDE TO ALL THIS INTERACTION WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS NONSENSE.*  MORE GERMS.

Frell.

I made it in to my third Sams duty shift last night, aware that all was not well internally but not having arrived at true graphic cheese-grater stage yet—and also you really don’t want to cancel at the last minute if you possibly can avoid it because last-minute Samaritan substitutes are a good deal rarer and more valuable than hen’s-egg-sized rubies, and just as the Street Pastors can’t go out unless there are at least three of them plus two Prayer Pastors back at base, the Sams office can only stay open if there are two duty Sams.

As it happens it was a very draining shift** but Pythia seemed to think I’d done well, and since she wasn’t shoving notes under my nose I’m willing to believe she did think so.*** Which is a bit of a ‘yaaay’ because however earnest and willing you are you don’t know if you can do it—do it over some of the range of human distress—till you’ve done it.

So apparently I am going to make a Sam.  Knitting critter coats for Battersea Dog and Cat Rescue optional.  Yaaay. †

 * * *

*  Saturday night is the traditionally busiest night of the Street Pastors’ weekend, which runs three nights starting with Thursday, although some of the individually scariest stuff can perfectly well happen on non-Saturdays.  As a Friday regular I was braced for the foaming hordes—also it’s summer so the weather and assorted festivals encourage the punters onto the streets—and it was sure busy but nothing too hectic.  The most melodramatic aspect was the number of bottles and cans left around.  WHY ARE PEOPLE SUCH SLOBS.^  There are a variety of views about this among Street Pastor groups and areas.  We all pick up glass because of the potential danger if it breaks.^^  After that the edicts get a little less clear.   We’re not litter pickers, we’re concerned about safety, so generally speaking we look for anything to do with alcohol.  We’ll sully our hands^^^ to dispose of Guinness and Old Speckled Hen cans, but not Pepsi or Innocent Super Smoothie.  And we pour out any contents of our hogsheads and firkins before we bin them—which means you want to find a grating on your way to your bin.  On the grounds that drunk people will do anything, perhaps especially drunk teenage boys daring each other to greater feats of grossness, I am also one of those who picks up abandoned plastic ‘glasses’ that still have something that looks like beer in them.

Occasionally this may lead to a situation open to misinterpretation.  Saturday night for some reason I got my eye in and was seeing cans and bottles that my teammates were walking straight past—usually there’s someone on a team who is struck by greatness this way but it’s never been me before.#  I had just ducked aside to pick up a (empty) bottle of Cava and paused on my return to the main road to seize a half-full-of-something plastic glass.  I turned around, looking for a grating and/or a bin and saw two gentlemen, rather the worse for wear, staring at me goggle-eyed.  The Street Pastors are pretty well known around here and of course a Street Pastor on her beat is wearing logos of dazzling, unmissable blatancy.  Can you drink on the job? said one of them in hushed, almost reverent tones.  No, I said, trying not to laugh at the looks on their faces.  I’m dumping these out.  They watched me closely as I found my grating and then my bin . . . but I wonder if they went home thinking that they’d caught me at something and of course I had to pour my illicit beverage out once they’d seen me.

^ These are probably some of the same people that don’t pick up after their dogs.  Hellhounds and I walked past a pile of dog crap in the middle of a BUS SHELTER today.  How disgusting is that?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

^^ Each team also carries a flimsy little dustpan and brush for sweeping up broken glass.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to wield same on Saturday.  Glass weighs, you know?  And the poor little dustpan goes groan groan groan so you have to keep emptying it . . . so you hope that whoever drops a breakable object does so near a bin.+

+ I was also, on my hands and knees sweeping up glass, lavishly praised by passing coppers.  Oh my misspent youth.  I’ve become a little old lady who sweeps up broken glass in public places.

^^^ We also carry one-use gloves for anything really revolting.

# I can think of superpowers I would prefer.  There’s a woman on my usual team who is so good at it I swear she draws cans and bottles to her, like the birds flocking to St Francis.  At least bottles don’t crap on your head.

** Which is fine.  It’s what we’re for.  And while you-a-Sam may well end a call feeling ‘oh dear oh dear oh dear’ you also get to hope you made a difference . . . after all, this person picked up the phone^ to talk to a Samaritan . . . presumably because they wanted to talk to a friendly, empathetic, non-judgemental person.  THAT’S WHAT WE’RE FOR.  Make a note.

^ Or fired up their computer/smartphone for an email or a text

*** She has the lurgy also.  Possibly we gave it to each other last week.

† Thank you God.  Stamina is still an issue, but Pythia says that comes with practise and experience, which seems to me reasonable.  If I were sitting quietly and solitarily at my desk and someone said Here.  You now have three dogs, each of them seriously insane in its own individual way, and you have to walk them several miles every day as well as feeding, playing with, and generally interacting with them, including Long Yellow Rubber Pull Toy Things and sofas, including when you feel like the ancient compacted rubbish at the bottom of a dustbin-collection lorry, I think I might squeak a bit.  It’s all what you’re used to.

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