Dear Inner Circle,
I'm sitting at The Fountain Cafe in Kings Cross because I'm a bit afraid that if
I walk into Wayside, this note will not be written. We have a Board meeting
tonight and our Business Manager has been sending me emails since 6am.
To say the least it's busy at Wayside in recent days. It's busy because we have
a growing number of community activities which means additional people are
coming and going and it's busy because the number of people who visit Wayside
and ask for some kind of help has also increased. I'm in awe of our front line staff
who maintain extraordinary compassion for people even when the demands upon
them are daunting.
It's a rather nice cool morning. The lady on the next table has a big leaf in her hair
that looks like it just fell on her head. She's just ordered a large chocolate
milkshake with two marshmallows. It's not an ideal breakfast but I wouldn't
mind one myself. There are three old fellows on the table on the other side of me
who are having coffee and sharing a bowl of chips. That is more weird I think.
These funny old sausages are all deaf so I, and half of Kings Cross, know what's
on their minds. Since the Bourbon has stopped trading, what used to be the steps
into the gambling area has been transformed into something of an amphitheatre
for homeless people to sit and watch the world go past. There are three people
who I know enjoying the cool and engaged in conversation with each other.
A homeless fellow asked me the other day, "Does human damage make the human
voice louder?" I have no idea what the right answer is but I know that loud voices
are a constant feature of life at Wayside. One of the people on the amphitheatre is
a transexual person for whom the transition is entirely unconvincing, however,
she is one of the kindest people I know and she certainly makes this world a
Most of the people walking past are in a hurry to get somewhere. They look like
successful people on their way to the CBD. Our lovely old lady who wanders
around wearing everything she owns just walked past. In cool weather this dear
old thing doesn't look too out of place but you should see her in the middle of
summer dressed like she's ready for voyage to the antarctic. The three deaf guys
now are solving the problem in Syria with such enthusiasm that their chips are
Quite a young man who is often at Wayside just walked past like he was hurrying off
to the CBD as well. I asked him how he was and he replied, "Good, bad, not sure".
I'll take that as a "good".
My heart is heavy for the family of that young fellow who lost his life after being
tasered by police. I'm most supportive of police and testify that they are mostly
compassionate in difficult circumstances here at Wayside but I hate tasers with a passion.
Police use of guns has not diminished since tasers were issued so the main argument
for these nasty things is weak. I've only seen one in use on one occasion and then
there were five officers and one cranky customer. The use of the taser was entirely
unnecessary. It seems on Sunday there were five or even six officers trying to
apprehend a man that was running away in fright. I would think that the use
of these rotten things ought to cease immediately and at a minimum the multiple
use of tasers should be absolutely forbidden. I know the hearts of the man's family
will ache for the rest of their days.
I could stay here all day and have a most enjoyable day. The deaf guys keep
touching each other on the arm or poking each other depending on the strength of the
point they are trying to make. I guess it's a way of stopping your deaf mate from drifting off topic.
It's funny and it will be me one day.
This Sunday is Neighbour Day and we at Wayside are inviting all of our neighbours
in for high tea on our rooftop garden. If you are our neighbour or within cooee or if
you are in town at that time, we'd love to have you drop in for a cuppa. It's happening
this Sunday from 11 am to 12pm. Just drop in, no need to respond to the invitation
or pretend that you want to borrow a cup of sugar. We love our neighbours and we
try hard to be a good neighbour.
I hope you don't mind this note from the cafe this morning. What a wonderful
community is Kings Cross!
Rev Graham Long
The Wayside Chapel
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