I decided to wait a day before I wrote this entry. This is less an entry than a condemnation.
I have found that fundamentally all through my trip that I have been blessed with meeting kind and decent people.
By and large we are good folk and this is a great country. We have strong values about fairness and looking after each other.
Faces come to me. A hand shake here. An offered drink or meal. Just a conversation in passing.Everywhere a keen suggestion to keep going.
When you see the good you have a stronger reaction against the bad.
So I will be as honest as I can about the bad I just saw. Maybe I just have clearer eyes.
I think we have all been in the situation where we are confronted with the disabled or homeless or a medical situation where we are either afraid or overwhelmed or as has often been my case just -to- damn busy to step in.
Often it seems like the responsibilty to act should belong to someone else. We develop a whole series of mechanisms to walk on by.
In cities the cost of intervention can often be quite real and dangerous. We have a mindset that someone else will fix the problems. I say this because I want to make it clear I am no guardian angel.
But then sometimes you are presented with situations where you have long enough and are in a secure enough position to -do- something and if you choose not to then you really are a loathsome human being and should spend some time on some serious reflection.
Like the owner of Rivers Edge Caravan park. I am going to just say it. Your an awful person. I hope people read this and decide to go somewhere else aside from your park. I hope your lack of charity costs you.
What I saw incensed me so much I am going to call this out and relate exactly what I just witnessed.
So let me try and relate this.
So I had just paid for two nights and I am setting up my tent and I see this old guy. It did not register at first but he had clearly been beaten and was homeless and suffering dimentia.
One of his eyes was totally messed up. It seemed he probably had not washed for days. He had come in to the caravan park on a three wheeled bicycle loaded with all his things.
I am probably so wild looking myself that he seemed normal!
But none of this really registered until later.
He was walking around lost and confused.
At some point he asked the park staff , ‘Have you seen may bags? Put them by the power. Please help me out. . .’
No effort was made at this point to walk around and look. I suspect they actually threw his gear out or he had been beaten or robbed days ago and had just lost track of time.
Regardless I said, ‘I will walk around and have a look for you. What do they look like? Retraced your steps?’
Now if I had known at this point he was suffering dimentia and crazy I might have excused myself but I didn’t. So I walk around and see he has left things all over the place and figure out he is a bit mad and that the missing items may not even exist or are changing from moment to moment. This could have been going on for days.
10 minutes of that seemed enough to confirm this and I left him to it.
Over the course of the day he continued to wander and got steadily more irrate. No one came to help him. No one so much as suggested that he sit down and have a cup of tea.
It seemed he really had lost something. He didn’t put up a tent. He just sat in the caravan park kitchen. As it got dark he began to curse and mutter. Eventually he started to cook something.
He kept repeating that all his ‘supplies’ had been stolen. I think all his loss was very real and that his sense of time was all messed up. As I rolled over to go to sleep the smell of whatever he was cooking was like rotting garbage.
Maybe it was what he was cooking from the bins. He turned on the TV. It was then that either the caravan park owner or caravan park manager came over and turned off the power on him. As it got dark he began to curse and rant. As it went on he became steadily more irrate. Eventually the caravan park owner is +60 fat with beady little red eyes ( entirely filling in his stereotype as a phobic uncaring selfish individual ) came over on his quadbike and said, ‘This is not a bedroom. This is a kitchen. Now piss off!’ To which this old fellow replied , ‘Please have you seen my gear? Please mate?’ And I can see now he was trying to hold on to whatever sense of civility he had left.
After this he lost it. Began to cry. Curse. Scream about murdering people. Crying gurgling howling sounds.
I lay in my tent hoping someone else would -do- something. After a bit I indentified that this was because I was afraid. He sounded so crazy that if I went near him he would just kill me.
This went on for about an hour. No one responded. No one came. Remember how in a city someone else will always -do- something.
I want if I can to somehow relate the dignity of this guy. He had clearly been beaten. He had lost his gear. He didn’t have a comfortable tent to sleep in. He was holed up because he had lost some part of his mind and had nowhere else to go.
I wasn’t sure what he had lost but I supposed whatever it was couldn’t have been all that flash or expensive. Food. Clothing.
So I got up and dug out some money to give him. Such a classic city response. 50 bucks is half a new tent!
Absolve personal responsibility and guilt with money. It didn’t feel like that at the time of course. I was responding in a way I thought was helpful.
But his response was absolutely noble and fundamental.
‘Don’t want money! Don’t accept charity. Seen my bags? Just want my stuff!’
I was just scared then. A lot of -fine-spite-yourself-then- . . . so I left him to it.
The next day he was wandering around again. He clearly had lost the ability to respond to crisis with a plan. Just going in a circle.
He asked me sometimes hopefully , ‘Seen my things?’. Raved and cursed.
At some point he asked me , ‘Know anything about bicycle wheels?’ Of course I do.
I lied, ‘Nope cannot help you. . ‘ This was a response to the rejected charity.
But I hope I have managed to get across some of the plight of a person like this. He was just old and lost and angry but when confronted with charity he conserved his dignity.
Through all of this I also worried that he might steal my things. Of course he didn’t. All he wanted was his stuff back real or imagined.
Of course the caravan park owner ignored him. At least until that evening.
He came over on the quadbike. ‘Mate get the hell out of here. Your a parasite. Your finished mate. Tomorrow your out of here. Fuck off. . .’ And rode off.
I was incensed at this point. If you run something like a caravan park you have a responsibility. Not just to show some kindness when presented with an incident like this but to your other guests to. We all do to each other for hecks sake.
What if this old guy just lost the plot and in a disconnected rage hurt someone.
I determined that in the morning I would go get my supplies and if the old guy was still around when I got back I would -do- something.
It took awhile right. But see how you can learn to do a bit better and take that if you can.
So I went and did my shopping. Came back. Old guy was still in the same place.
So I walked over to the caravan park manager in her van and said ,
‘I see he is still here. What do you think I/We should do about him?’
I put an emphasis on I. Give me some suggestions about your town and services and I will do something. I really give a fuck just point me in the right direction. I just take a bit to get started. I am working on that bit now.
She was quite reasonable. We talked about maybe calling an aged health care service or the Sally’s. Something.
That would result in an effort to at least get him some new gear.
It was then that the caravan park owner climbed in the van.
I wish I could describe him. Just a repulsive nasty human being.
It was in his eyes. Not a single drop of compassion in them.
Just blood shot and nasty.
‘What are you to fucking talking about?’ , he snapped.
The caravan park manager just switched off.
Her job after all probably on the line then.
I said ,
‘Mate we are talking about what to do about the homeless deranged old guy in your caravan park. . . .’
He snorted in disgust , ‘Not my bloody problem mate. What can you do? Chuck him out!!!!’
I just lost it at this point. To be confronted by such a vile attitude. I thought about all the decent kind people I had met.
Just one fat arsehole like this can undo the charity of a hundred decent people.
This bag of pustulant selfish self pursing scum. A big difference exists between being afraid or not knowing what to do and being what the owner of this park is. A whole new level of rotten.
I wanted to reach through the window and drive my fingers in to his fat repulsive windpipe and crush till his selfish eyes were turned off for all of you. The good people who have worked a lot harder than me to be kind and compassionate.
Who would turn down the chance to knock off Baron Harkonen? What I was looking at was the death of true blue.
He said to me, ‘And who the fucking hell are you anyway? I see you with your faggot hands. This is -MY- Caravan park and I don’t need you fcking telling me what to do in it. . .’
So uncaring. So unreasonable. But his response said it all. What is wrong with being gay or black or.anything. An individual that thinks this is still an effective insult in this world is nothing to care for.
It made me smile. All the distance I have come. My ‘faggot’ hands have done up bolts put in fences a lot more besides.
And you know I hadn’t even asked him to sort it out this poor old guy really.
I had really come I think for some direction. So I at this point I let him have it.
I said, ‘Mate I am someone that cares for other people. It is a thing real Australians do. You on the other hand are just fat scum and fundamentally and obviously an uncaring individual and my faggot hands as you called them are worth ten of yours. You are not true blue. I am writing a blog ( a diary because you most likely have no clue what it is ) and by this time tomorrow evening I am sure at least a few thousand people would have read about how you treat the elderly and disabled in Talems Bend. I will also be sending a letter to your local rag describing this incident. So my faggot hands as you can see do pretty well. . . .’
At that point his mouth dropped open. His little piggy eyes were calculating.
Then I followed up,
‘I hope one day you also end up old and lost and alone. .’
He laughed at this but I could see the fear in him. He wasn’t healthy. Fat. Jowled. I could see the death for him. Like a claw. Gasping out his last somewhere. Probably a stroke most likely. GOOD!
I went and packed up my gear and looked around but the old homeless guy had already gone. I passed him awhile later. Dragging his load of things. Wished him well.
Maybe he had a bike problem. I don’t know. I did not stop. At least he was moving and the sun was shining. He is probably still on that road somewhere dragging along his stuff. But I respect him. His hands are worth 50 of mine.
People will drive past. We all drive past. I rode
And as for the arsehole that owns the riversedge caravan park.
Well to avoid him ( http://www.riversedgecp.com/ ) you can cross the Jervois ferry for free and drive another 20 minutes to the lovely campsite in Wellington.
Quiet and not on the main truck route. Cheaper to and the toilets and showers are clean. .
And if this story bothered you maybe drop the uncaring old bastard an email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Because karma is sweet and we have a lot of eyes in this world to look on our selfishness and poor deeds. . .