Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Predictability of Unpredictability

"White, twentyish, female" - I feel frustrated - "5' 6"ish, mousey hair with a braid" - I feel angry - "blue jeans grey top " – Annoyed at myself that I have to do this.

I stand giving a policewoman a description “…this is just in case she does something stupid...we didn’t feel threatened but if she did happen to carry out her threat we need you to know...”

If there is one thing that is predictable - in having your church doors open to the community from 8am to 10pm Monday - Friday – it is the unpredictability of what may happen.

Our small charity shop was just about to close when Lisa arrived. I’d not met her before. I certainly won’t forget her. The level of insane abuse was incredible. A drug-user desperate for cash for her next fix. Trying all she had to get us to subsidise her habit. Trying all she had to swing something. Trying all she had to unnerve us.

There was little we could do but stand together united as wave after wave of abuse washed over us. Our charity shop volunteers watched on as she told us what she was going to do to us; that she was going to stab us; kill us. “I WILL STAB SOMEONE…THEN WILL YOU BE HAPPY?”. Her desperation increased to the point where her eye rolling and flaying arms was disturbing. For the safety of everyone we ask her to leave. This relationship is not going well. She left cursing with her bag of bounty. A bag of clothing that we helped her with. A final look over her shoulder “I WILL kill you…” ended a lovely pleasant interaction!

Face to face with the by-product of ‘systematic failure’; face to face with fragmented society; fragmented lives is quite a place to be. On this occasion it feels a little hopeless. But like all the characters (check out
Ray...! ; check out Phillipa) that have a sharpness to them, we start again - carefully - as if nothing has happened.


There’s something quite profound about being able to start again with someone...afresh.

No comments: