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


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

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