Monday, 16 August 2010

A Mediterranean craziness

They moved the crazy lady. At 7.00am a barrage of voices; the loudest being the local homeless woman who had colonised the empty house next door. And what a house. If I would win the lottery, what I could do with it. Sam's most adamant that it would make the most amazing abode. However, the crazy lady had spent I don't know how long in the path that led to the back garden. Bags full of bottles, cans, plastic, were piled head high. When they eventually cleared her out the detritus lay on the road opposite. Tarpaulins filled to the brim with mattresses, shelving, prams, umbrellas, flower pots, crockery, chairs, a step-ladder, stools, book shelves, rugs and hundreds of plastic bags stuffed with who-knows-what. The crazy lady fed the cats. She lived among the bags in a twelve-inch-square of habitation. She wore the same filthy grey (they could once have been white) jeans and once-white t-shirt the entire time that I saw her. She would coax the cats out from their lairs and feed them genteely, laying out rows of silver foil bowls of food and others with water, picking up each cat and kissing it and caressing it so that even though it lived in the wild (so the speak), it was loved.

The crazy lady is now gone, although where to, I've no idea. They told me that they had offered her a place in a homeless shelter many times. Each time she had refused. She would be given a bed, a shower, some food to eat and be allowed to spend the nights there, so long as she vacated the premises during the day. She didn't act too crazily. She didn't talk to herself; she didn't shout or scream or throw things at passers-by. I saw a man conversing with her, while trying to give her some money. She shook her head. So was she a 'crazy lady'? I guess that she had to be to live like that. Who would chose to live in squalor and dirt and disarray? Even in this most habitable temperature? What is craziness?

Meanwhile Zach is traversing London. The phone is gone. So, too, possibly is the computer. He's tying things. He told us that the hospital had discharged him. That, apparently, is a figment of his imagination, although he's still been discharged from the ward. His mood fluctuates. Maybe by the time September comes he'll begin the downward curve towards the winter's despair. He doesn't mention the dog.

[updated on the 19th August]

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