Shopping angst nothing compared with bombing
ON A busy day, tearing around the shops, grumpy and harassed, running out of time and wondering if I’d get back to my car before the traffic warden, I felt like I’d got the world on my shoulders.
I pulled myself up short – I wasn’t dodging bombs in Gaza or Libya or Iraq. A possible parking ticket paled into insignificance when compared with abandoning my shopping to run for shelter from air strikes. How do these people find the strength to keep going?
With the news so awful at the moment a bit of cheer is always welcome, and mine came in the form of a busker. The strains of George Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me, interrupted my less-romantic quest to buy catarrh pastilles in Boots.
It had me misty-eyed and reaching into my pocket for some loose change. Mr F, who wasn’t with me on this occasion, knows this is my favourite number and sometimes requests it for me. (That’s if we happen to be sitting in a piano bar where requests are welcomed of course – he doesn’t randomly collar every busker we pass).
It made me think about what prompts us to donate. Definitely not charity muggers (chuggers) who try and corner us by being overchummy and invading our personal space. Many people prefer to contribute by publicising a skill of their own, like running a marathon or showing what good sports they are by shaving their heads or sitting in a bath of baked beans.
I find myself cheered by some of these efforts but strangely irritated by others, particularly people in supermarkets pounding away on exercise bikes with big notices telling me how many miles they’ve ‘travelled’.
I am however drawn to people shaking tins for charity as that takes real guts.
A recent TV programme about mothers on modest incomes, spray-tanning their toddlers and dotting their clothes with Swarovski crystals, had me wondering if it ever crossed their minds that a small fraction of the money spent on bling could have fed or vaccinated other children elsewhere in the world.
More than any of the gutwrenching appeals for help that we are currently bombarded with on TV, these witless women had me reaching for the phone to respond to the next advert for humanitarian aid.