I am starting to realise that morally I am not a big person. I will never make Archbishop of Canterbury or be Mother Teresa, I won't even be Anneka Rice. The tribulations of a typical walk through Luton town centre are getting to me and I am finding my patience wearing about as thin as it can get.
Last week, a walk to an appointment involved first avoiding a lorry on the pavement and walking into the path of a maniacal bike rider. This was followed by avoidance of eye contact with a crazed, hatchet faced young woman with the smell of drink on her, stepping round an insistent beggar with guilt in my heart and then coping with someone gobbing, with an enthusiastic expectorating sound, next to my leg. I stood there, my eyes pricking with tears, screwing my face up, thinking out loud 'Oh God! I hate Luton!'. Half of what I hated was myself for not being good enough to cope with it all, for finding all this human degredation unpalatable and insuportable, like some latterday Margot Leadbetter. I imagine I looked like a nutter myself but all I wanted was to knock my ruby slippers together and be transported away to somewhere more civilised and bucolic.
It made me realise that the only way you can cope is by becoming innured to it all and there lies danger. No wonder social workers start to miss things when each day they are coping with the shitty stick of life. If you don't shut some of it out, how will you ever cope? Even my cursory encounters with the underbelly of urban life leave me feeling sullied and disturbed.
So perhaps it's time for me to get out before it gets me! At least my colleagues understand. K told me her trip to an appointment recently involved negotiating a doorway in which someone was standing with an aggressive dog, avoiding people asking her for money and then walking passed a man sitting on a wall 'playing' with a chain saw! Welcome to our world.