Last year they changed the law again.
I didn’t know. It’s hard to keep track of these things. I have a tough time concentrating for the census interview when there’s dirt under my nails. I can’t sit still in the waiting room of the GP for the biannual consult when it’s been three weeks since I last showered. People don’t care about unwashed hair in the forty-minute queue for watery soup but that queue isn’t mandatory.
You’re sent back to the bottom of the list if you’re sent to jail. They released me last March. Now they have my fingerprints and dental records anyway. That’s handy for them if I try to rob a bank. It’s handy for me when I’m sitting for a three-night pass during winter and my ID card’s been stolen or lost again.
A three-night pass is the best I’m going to get for a while. There must be thousands of people on that list. Thousands of immaculately documented, dirt-smudged, scrawny, vacant-eyed vagrants standing in a row outside waiting for one of maybe fifty bunks. The funding didn’t go to those places. It went to healthcare. That’s why they changed the law.
After the epidemic it was obvious who was most vulnerable to germs living on surfaces for up to ten hours when you hardly get to wash your hands, wash your face, your clothes, everything you own. People freaked out and contact of any kind was a no no. Nowhere accepted cash during then and I haven’t jumped on the Paywave bandwagon yet. Another trend I lost track of. There’re bright sides, though. Easy to stay two metres away from everyone already trying not to acknowledge your existence and you’re sitting right there when you walk past. But my tastiest meal today came straight from a bin and I don’t think the person who dropped it used hand sanitiser. I should’ve asked if they’ve had a fever. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing.
People I ate, sat or slept with from time to time started dropping like flies. Started complaining of headaches at first and then coughing, then whatever it was got straight into their lungs and that was that. That caught the sympathy vote and now anyone that dies out on the concrete isn’t an untouchable, they’re a victim of the state who can now be subpoenaed for criminal negligence. It’s much more affordable in the long run to make sure our health care is up to date and solve all those pesky health concerns before they become chronic and unaffordable to treat.
It’s a relief to have things winding back down to normal because I can collect coins again. The sympathy opened up the hearts (and purses) of far more passers by and soon I’ll be able to get a nicer coat before it gets too cold. That’s the best option for people who don’t have a postal address, and I hear that even if you do have one it’s a wild ride trying to get back into employment. So many businesses shut down during the no contact law. Now we have nicer smelling, more awkward characters standing in line with us – but not too close – waiting for their own update. They didn’t know what that was like a year ago.
Hope they’re paying more attention than I did.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Gayle O'LearyWrite a Review