Yes. You read right. It's not something I expected, and it certainly was weird experience that I can't quite believe happened.
So tonight was cool. I went to Queenies and followed it up by checking out Jen's new bar in Darlinghurst. We ate cheese, talked about crap boy behaviour and painted the wall. Jo then climbed all over the statue outside Universal in heels and it was hilarious. We waved goodbye to Jen and then went to walk down the lane to her car.
Now, as we walk down the lane I see a woman awkwardly slumped over in the corner. It wasn't a dark dodgy corner as such (it's a kinda newish building) but at the same time it's still Darlinghurst ya know? So junkies aren't quite unexpected. Then in my .5 seconds of judgement I saw her outfit and yes, it was still trackies and an oversized t-shirt, but it looked quite...clean. I can't quite explain it but she looked out of place.
A couple of years ago I would have walked straight past and ignored her (Asians have been taught to fear everything and basically not get involved ever- FACT), but a friend who actually used to stop for randoms on the street "just see if they were okay" had somehow rubbed off on me.
Despite this though I never quite know what to do. Though in this case I did- refer to Jo and say "Jo what do we do?". She is much more awesome at things like this you see. She works for Wesley Mission and is just a nicer more caring person in general. If you ever need anything and had to rely on one of us your best bet is her every time.
So she goes up and starts asking her if she's okay and the junkie doesn't respond- at all. I think she's dead. Jo points out she's still breathing. That's enough for me and I kind of want to leave. Jo shakes the junkies foot foot and she still doesn't respond. I see notice that two guys have walked behind us and have stopped and think "thank god".
Jo keeps shaking the junkie and asking questions and she kind of starts to talk but goes in and out of consciousness. We find out her name is Sarah. The guys walk up to us and say that she's not safe staying there cause men roam around there at night and it would be better to call an ambulance (excitingly, their names were Chris and Joe so there were three of us there named Jo!).
By this time however, girl Jo is asking if we can drive her somewhere and it becomes evidently clear WE ARE.
The guys think we are crazy. I think we are crazy. I am not freaking out. I'm lying- of course I was freaking out! I try to give one of the guys a sign to stop this madness. He tells me I'm funny and that kind of makes me feel good but it certainly feels like the wrong time to have this conversation.
Sarah says she lives on Morehead Street in Redfern. Jo looks it up on Google Maps and says "hey that's near you!". Of course it is. I say "great".
I look up at the giant (or so they seemed) set of stairs and wonder how on earth Sarah the junkie will get up them. She does. We head towards the car and Chris runs over to ask if we want them to follow us? I tell him that she's so wacked out she's probably not dangerous. At least I hope. We pass a random guy on the street and she asks him for a cigarette and he gives one to her. Then she either drops or spots on the ground 2 packaged syringes. She picks them up and leaves them on a post-box. I am relieved by this.
We make it to the car and drive her towards Redfern. She tells us she's really hungry and hasn't had any food. Jo says we'll stop and pick-up something along the way. Meanwhile, I have a dilemma over what food to buy. My internal dialogue goes something like this- junkies like sugar right? But that's not very healthy. What's open- maybe a sushi roll? That's too weird. Is there something healthy? Does it need to be healthy? Jo it's not about you. Junkies like junk food. But it's not very responsible. Do they eat salad? What DO junkies eat?
In the end I make the right decision and ask Jo who replies "maybe a sausage roll or pie". Phew- see she is much better. (I bought a chicken pide if anyone is wondering).
As we drive closer to Redfern Sarah the junkie starts to give directions and it turns out she lives in the giant housing commission place. Of course. She gets out and blows a kiss.
So that was my night. Sarah the junkie didn't seem dangerous - just very wacked out. She kept saying over and over that she was in pain. It made me feel sad.
In conclusion- what are you supposed to do? One of my fears is that someone dies because people don't care or just keep on walking. I'm sure it happens all the time though. I just don't want it to happen to me. What do you do? Who do you call?
We didn't save her life, or anywhere even close. I do know that Jo-the-girl-not-me is an amazing, amazing person. Something I'm in awe of.
Lot's to think about tonight though I'm not quite sure where it will get us to. Redfern at least.
P.s. I've decided this blog is going to be about lots more general/random stuff now, not just awesome art/fashion/design etc. It won't always be this random but I can't promise that.
P.P.S. To be clear, this isn't a photo of Sarah the junkie. This is a photo of Jo elegantly getting off the statute outside Universal.
“In the middle ages in England when you met a very poor person that person would be described as an unfortunate- literally someone who had not been blessed by fortune- an unfortunate.
Now days, particularly in the United States, if you meet someone at the bottom of society they may be unkindly be described as a loser”
Ted Talks are an internet black hole. Watch one then suddenly you're sucked in and hours are gone from your life. Luckily, unlike cat videos and porn you come out a little bit smarter and a little bit more aware of the world around you.
This Alain de Botton video, and particularly this one quote is something I've had stuck in my head all week (though to be honest I've watched alot of his videos this week and they've all been stuck in my head).
To me it's a vivid reminder that a) the world just isn't fair- but it's alot more unfair to others than it is to us, and b) we don't need to conform to expectations, and neither should we expect others to conform to ours.
Even though this video goes for about 15 minutes it hardly seems like anytime at all. I'm sure others would agree with me when I say I could listen to him speak all day.
If you agree too, and haven't seen it already go and watch Religion For Atheists right NOW.
You'll thank me I promise.