Hello again from the streets! (Or, in fact, the public library)
- We've continued to do ok for money, food and shelter
- Reactions have been (almost) unaminously positive to the endeavour
- The plan is to check out "the Gap", a service for 16-25 year olds, later today
Following the last post, a quick trip to Sainsbury's yielded three limes, which you can see Chris trying to juggle on youtube. These were much easier than the bottles of water, though people weren't quite as generous as previously - James's theory is that people take pity on you if you keep dropping them. So, following another afternoon nap in the parks, we headed up to Summertown for some more car washing. This proved as successful as it had before, and in a few hours we only managed to get half way down the street, washing four cars in the process. With our new-found wealth, we enjoyed some more bakery produce and some chips from the kebab van. After trying and failing to contact our mate in the city centre, we decided that we couldn't face walking into town and back out again if we couldn't find him, so bedded down in the porch for a third night.
Which essentially brings us to now (following a long sleep - managed to lie in til 8!). A couple of things have been particularly interesting. For one, this morning we arrived at the Summertown public toilets about eight fifteen to find the council employee still in the process of opening up. After a brief exchange (which I can assure you was entirely pleasant natured from our side), he had a rant about homeless people causing trouble before informing us "you're not welcome in Summertown" and proceeding to lock the toilets back up again.
We had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, we were a little proud that he thought we were really homeless - I guess we're starting to look the part a little by now. On the other, it's obviously pretty unpleasant to be treated that way. This is the first negative reaction we've had at all - even the ranger who kicked us out of uni parks the other night was really kind to us. I guess it's pretty easy for us to take it, as we know we can manage (without him or his toilets...) but this sort of thing must really be rubbish for people doing this for real. Right now the rest of the week seems like an eternity; I truly can't imagine what it would be like right now without going home at the end of it to look forward to.
One other thing was something a guy named Steve said to us yesterday. We got chatting to him in the street and explained what we were doing. He said he thought we'd probably get a pretty good idea of what it's like to be homeless by spending a week out, and also that we'd notice a bit of a barrier between us and our friends when we went home. I'm not sure exactly what he meant, but looking back over the video diary we recorded last night (the one with James' feet), I noticed in our faces the same slightly distanced look you see in many homeless people. It was a bit of a shock, really!
Thanks for reading ;)
Chris and James.