It’s pretty isolated where I live, I get no visitors so when a young man knocked on my door today in the hope of selling me some pound shop rubbish at eye watering prices, my heart sank. Not because of who he was or might be, but because of who I am.
I live like a tramp in my own home, I have no washing machine, no cooker, no tumble dryer or fridge, I do not even have a proper water supply. I am not poor though, I consider myself one of the world’s beloved, I have everything I need and have no envy for anybody. In short, I live like I do on purpose.
I dislike the endless consumerism and cook on an open fire, I wash my clothes by hand and do not replace them until they fall apart. Nobody sees me so what does it matter how I present myself to the outside world?
As he opened his bag of delights, I saw plastic waste and cheap goods. He told me openly that he is an ex offender and his probation officer was encouraging him to try to make a living. This may or may not be true, I don’t care.
I tried to explain how I live although I imagine he would not believe me, even people who know me – which is primarily online – feel that I must be exaggerating my eighteenth century lifestyle. I rarely have money, but my sister gave me some recently for a birthday gift, as I had no pressing use for it, I passed it on to the young man.
I mostly thought that this was amusing, me trying to explain that no, I did not have a washing machine, cooker, whatever. When I said about no fridge, he was utterly confused.
“But how do you keep your milk cool?”
I had to then explain that I don’t use milk. I’m vegan, but thought that telling him this might be a step too far, people get angry at me if they find out.
He asked about my dogs, one of whom was barking behind the door, said he liked dogs, so I brought them out to say hello. I have an elderly, toothless collie and a young Akita, with whom he was impressed. We chatted dogs for a bit and he went on his way.
Because I found the experience funny with me trying to explain the unbelievable way I live to a bemused youngster; I mentioned it to online friends who tend to the off grid lifestyle. I was surprised and hurt when I was advised that he might have been up to no good and that I should not give him money in case he was not genuine. Genuine what? I saw a human being.
I know that it is possible that he was up to no good. He could have been checking the area to see if my home is worth breaking into. If this is the case then he learned that my home has nothing of commercial value, and whereas the owner is a fat, helpless, old lady, she is also a fat, helpless, old lady with a big, fuck off Akita.
On the other hand, he could be exactly what he said he was. A young man struggling in a hostile world to be able to eat today. Either way I hope that I will always take the path of humanity.
He could be my grandson, he could be yours. Always be kind, people.