I laugh in the face of normal
Ok, so it wasn’t the best idea in the world to take a potentially homeless stranger to Blackpool. Why did I do it? In that fifteen seconds from turning the corner and seeing my date almost lying in the road, head in his hands, looking like he was begging for spare change and deciding to take part in this crazy event, several things went through my head. Patronising as it might seem, it was the despair on his face that won me over and the fact that I couldn’t do that to another human being. I hadn’t particularly liked the nervously sweaty middle class man with the cheesy quiche and I didn’t turn a piece down. I’d have felt like a complete cow leaving an unkempt man in the road just because he didn’t have a savoury offering in his hand.
Yes, you might say, but why Blackpool? I don’t know. Perhaps I felt so bad I’d have taken him to see Santa had it been nearer Christmas. He was lucky I didn’t rush him round the Pleasure Beach for the day and buy me a Kiss Me Quick hat.
However, it has just occurred to me as I type, that I may have picked up a genuinely homeless man, thrown him in my car and taken him out for the day to the seaside. Que sera, sera, it was a change for us both.
How did the day go? It wasn’t a success. For a start, he didn’t like hummus I’d brought for a snack. If you know me, you know you can’t dis the hummus. I’m a hummusexual; it’s the king of snacks. I would lick hummus from a sweaty arm-pit, I love it so much (although not on that day. I clearly mean Johnny Depp’s pit). I once put forward a business idea to my friends that we could sell hummus body paint instead of chocolate, but some sensible killjoy suggested that perhaps they already sold it and it was just called hummus. Bitch.
I’ve gone off on my tangent again; fear not, I’m journeying back.
The day went from bad to worse. He did have a home, it turned out, but it presumably wasn’t a very nice one and he freely admitted he was about to get thrown out, but it wasn’t that. Not only did he hate hummus, he criticised my driving. He was clearly down on his luck and going through a terrible time, but smelt my car out with his terrible person hygiene. Then we got to Blackpool and he grumbled about the portions in the chippy. Now I don’t want to bear grudges, but I did buy the fish supper and, down on your luck or not, there are such a thing as manners.
We journeyed back with more than a sense of minor irritation on my part. I wasn’t going to date him in a million years and I’d already decided that I’d do the same thing as I would with anyone – follow the rules of dating etiquette and just admit that he wasn’t for me. Then he started getting really annoying and criticising my dress. I practically threw him out of the car.
But he wasn’t done with me there. By the time I’d got home, he’d sent me an abusive message on the dating site and been chucked off it by the moderators. Not only that, but he’d infiltrated my facebook account, and sent messages to my best friends. The message he sent me went something like this. “I don’t like you and I only went to the seaside with you because I felt sorry for you. You had a spot on your chin that looked awful (considering he looked like he was in the final throws of leprosy, I thought this was a bit rich). You are a terrible person and I understand why your husband left you.’
Standing back from this event, a few things are clear to me:
1) Some people have mental health issues and a day at the seaside is no substitute for proper psychiatric care, clearly.
2) The online world of dating has its fair share of lunatics and I’ve dated most of them.
3) Never trust a man who doesn’t like hummus.
4) Looking at a picture and speaking on the phone to someone is no indication of the level of insanity they experience on a daily basis. I was married to a lunatic for fourteen years and I was one of the last to know.
5) I am not Mother Teresa and I’m not meant to be. She took in the homeless on the streets of India and my instinct is to take them for a ride at the fair. I’m not a saint and I should stop trying.