Vokesy

A family man and his camera

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“Silence is golden.”

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I didn’t want to be typing up this blog late again, but the fact is, it is late now, and so I have little choice.

Today’s quote, and inevitably the idea for a photo came from a chat with a colleague at work earlier during the day. As some of you may know, I work in a special needs school, and in my class dealing with pupils with severe learning difficulties who also have autism, as you can image it is rarely a quiet day, not even close to it most of the time. So I find it nice to take a little time out of my day if I get the opportunity to find a bit of piece and quiet. Sometimes I will find myself in the car driving along and will eventually realise I have been behind the steering wheel for however long without the radio turned off. I don’t even realise I have been sat in total silence… and it is lovely, providing you don’t get too stressed out by other drivers! If I don’t want total peace and quiet I have to hold my hands up and admit that I often find a bit of Classic FM helps with the stress of being on the road and the other nutjobs who seems to switch their brain off when they turn the engine on. Being on the bike isn’t especially silent, but does allow you to zone out of the sounds around you, although you still need to be switched on to be aware of the engine noises and their proximity to you. I would like to think that my journey could be more productive on my bike, with time to think about things, but I find myself so focused on the road and traffic conditions that I don’t seem to be able to consider anything else while I am on the move. On the way home however, I do use a pedestrian underpass to avoid a busy roundabout, and this afternoon, as I often do, I spotted a homeless guy with a sign asking for money under one of the popular subways where they tend to frequently hang out. Quite often I will see some that are fairly regular, but this one looked new. New to the area and new to the game, and looking far too depressed to think about anything other than just surviving the day. I genuinely felt sorry for him. Not that I am ignorant to the other homeless people who hang around begging down there, and I know its hardly party central for them, but they never seem to be quite as miserable as this guy was on this particular afternoon. I never keep money on me when I am at work or cycling, as there is no point, so I had absolutely nothing to give him, apart from my time and a friendly chat, but I’m pretty sure he’d rather just have the money! The only cash I ever need at work is for the odd whip round when someone is leaving. There is also the argument that if you give a homeless person cash on the street then you may just be fuelling an already existing drug/alcohol problem when there are homeless facilities available that could take them off the street for the night instead. Are they just tugging at the heart strings to get money for booze? Who could blame them if they were, they don’t really have a whole lot to look forward to. But then if they end up getting the money and get wasted and their problems all seem irrelevant for a few more hours, then how are we helping them to get out of this endless situation that they’re in?

Anyway, there isn’t a huge amount I can do to help the homeless while I am sat here tapping away on my keyboard, but it does make you stop and think, especially how grateful I am for the things in my life. No matter how bad you think you’re day is shaping up, you have to put things into perspective!

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Author: andrewvokes

Husband to my beautiful wife Clare, and father to two gorgeous girls. Cyclist, runner and photographer, living in Birmingham, UK.

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