Saturday, May 19, 2012

Am I a street walker?

Well, no, not actually a street walker because I stand in one place the whole time.  More like a street stander.  Oh, okay, I'm a street collector.  You can find me half a dozen times a year,  fingerless gloves clutching a charity collection box.  Last week, the charity was the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.  About eight years ago - and after the first time collecting for them - I wondered if I should do it again because of the sadness associated with the charity -  many dear little old ladies told me, in detail  about how Mary Potter had looked after their dying husbands.  Or men would talk about their departed wives.  I couldnt bear to see the pain in these peoples' eyes.  
When I collect for the SPCA it's totally different.  I get in animated conversation about pets.  When I collect for a specific illness, say, multiple sclerosis, sometimes I've had foreign students or tourists come up to me and ask what 'multiple sclerosis' means.  Try explaining that debilitating illness in just a few words!
It's usually (extremely) cold, my legs hurt after about an  hour, I get bored with the same view, and lots of people try to sidle behind me, rather than in front of me.  I've learnt there are places not to stand.  Standing outside Starbucks for instance equals not much money.  The patrons are usually on the run.  If I stand outside Cafe L'Affaire (dont know if I've spelt that right),  my collection box overflows.  The silly Mary Potter cardboard collection boxes are like a jug and as more and more money is tossed into it, the jug gets harder and harder to hold, especially when I've got my sticker box as well - and at the same time I'm trying to plaster the sticker on someone's jacket (tip: if the jacket is suede or leather put that sticker on the sweater or shirt instead).  The jug I got this year was minus the handle (see photo), and this made the collecting much more difficult - wish I'd had three hands.  Because of the early-morning cold, I had so many clothes on that I felt like a womble!
The Cafe L'Affaire patrons are truly wonderful, always with a smile and a cheery word.  I often see celebrities entering the premises.  I spoke to the Governor-General and his wife two years' ago.

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