A cup of coffee confirmed the homeless are neither pathetic nor dishonest

This week I spotted a man lying face down in the grass, and wanted to help

Share

Sometimes, instinctive assumptions should be ripped up and consigned to the bin. This week, Glen James, a homeless man living on the streets of Boston, found a backpack in a shopping mall. It contained tens of thousands of dollars in cash and traveller’s cheques, and a Chinese passport. He flagged down a policeman and handed it over. James later commented: “Even if I were desperate for money, I wouldn’t have kept a penny.”

The backpack was eventually reunited with its owner, a Chinese student visiting the city, while James was honoured by the Boston chief of police for an “extraordinary show of character and honesty”. This is presumably because homeless people are usually considered beneath the acts of altruism that householders naturally achieve on a regular basis. It’s as if the stigma of being homeless is so colossal that it simply stamps out everything else.

This week, I fell for it too. Finishing a run around the square where I live, I spotted a man, lying face down in the grass.

“Do you think he’s alive?” I shouted to a dog walker. The dog walker shrugged. I hobbled over to inspect the man. He opened one eye.

“Are you alright?” I say, feeling noble. “Do you need help? Where do you live?” The man shrugged. “I don’t have a home,” he said, and I moved swiftly into Full Samaritan. “Can I get you some water?” I asked. He looked at me and stretched. “Can I have a cappuccino? Four sugars.”

I went back to my house, laughing. At home, Mr Millard was full of alarm. “Don’t encourage him!” he said. “He might follow you.”

Ignoring this nonsense, I returned, bearing coffee and some biscuits for the object of my charidee. I am ashamed to admit that I hoped to be spotted by a neighbour, or two. The homeless man leant up on his elbow, and inspected what I had brought.

Then he started drinking the coffee. He didn’t seem surprised by what I’d done. He didn’t shower me with pathetic thanks, or bless me. I liked that. He might have lacked the thing that everyone in Islington is obsessed with, namely a house, but he had a lot of self-respect.

“I’ll come back for the mug,” I called. He didn’t say anything. I got the feeling he was rather amused by me, an Islington do-gooder in her £90 Nikes and Team Macmillan running top. Good for him. Why should homeless people always be cast as either thieves or pathetic recipients of charity?

The climax of my week

This week my personal inbox reached something of a pinnacle. Or, I should say, climax. For I have been invited to an evening entitled Female Orgasm. Fuel For Life, led by one Maya Gilbert, who has apparently spent the past four years in an intensive study of ladies’ pleasure, and wants to share her findings.

Key to this is the practise of orgasmic meditation, described as “a clearly defined, easily repeatable method for cultivating female orgasm. And by orgasm,” continues Gilbert. “We don’t just mean that brief moment of climax, but a fullness of hydration, energy and ignition in your body and your life.”

Of course I immediately relay the notion of orgasmic meditation on Twitter, provoking a flutter of Carry On-style hysterical giggles, jokes about fracking and references to tantric sex.

“Is Sting coming?” said one person. “Orgasmic meditation, that sounds like an oxymoron,” commented another. “You must go, if only to compare notes. Of varying frequency?” said a third, before plaintively asking: “Is there any way to discuss this without double entendres?” In a word. No. I mean yes, yes, yes!

Twitter: @Rosiemillard

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The author with David Leppan, the co-founder of Wealth-X, in his BBC series  

What I learnt about inequality after spending time with some of the richest people in the world

Jacques Peretti
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would halt the charitable status enjoyed by private schools

Rosie Millard
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links