Opening a window on the world

Every week for many years I have collected medication for my daughter and delivered it to wherever she was staying at the time, usually a room in a lodging house. The reason for a weekly rather than a monthly collection has been the prevention of suicide by overdose. Since I am still making these collections this, at least, has worked.

Over the years I have been a visitor at pharmacies in various parts of the city and have rubbed shoulders with junkies at all of them because that is where they go for methadone, which they swallow out of the public gaze in a discreet back room or booth. That way, the pharmacist knows it is being taken and cannot be sold on to third parties.

Being an early bird by nature I have met many junkies. Due to the urgency of their need many of them are early birds too. The methadone they take is used as an alternative to heroin but is also an opiate in its own right.

If you were in the right place at the right time you would see me mingling with the gentlemen in question at a quarter to nine and, who knows, might mistake me for one of them. Why not? I am there for drugs too.

Today as I was walking up the steep footpath from my daughter’s current flat, two of them met me on the way down. I heard them coming from some way off, as anyone with ears would have done. As they passed, one of them made me an offer.

‘Want some cheap steaks, mate?’

My guess is they had stolen the steaks with a view to selling them on to impoverished souls like me – an easy mistake to make since I am only well turned out on state occasions, which in my case never seem to arise.

What they would do with the money I can safely leave you to guess, but judging from the route they were taking they had liberated the steaks in question from Farmfoods or Lidl. How they did it I don’t know.

When I got up this morning I had no intention of dealing with life on the streets, but we are all at the mercy of events. Certain images stick in the mind whether we like it or not.