With a shrug of her shoulders she turned to take up her burden, her short squat body, and rounded shoulders reminded me of the stereo-typical Chinese labourers, carrying a yoke with huge payloads. She looked around her as if to see if anyone was watching, and with a huge sigh she bent under her load and lifted the handles. Grey dress, grey jacket, grey hat, and a grey evening to round off the combination. The pram looked overburdened, a cover hiding the contents, she turned away from the pram faced the road ahead and pulled her load and rolled off, rumbling and mumbling, like an ancient truck and trailer.
I have seen her many times pushing a stroller, her passengers brightly coloured all shouting to be heard, waiting to be delivered into the hands of expectant recipients. No deliverer of children is Dawn, but quietly she trudges the streets placing her passengers in letterboxes, pamphlets designed to stimulate and encourage desire, ownership, shiny sparkly new things. They shout against each other, Countdown vs New World, Dick Smith versus Noel Leemings, The Warehouse, well the Warehouse vs reality. Some places like a pork sausage at a Bar mitzvah they are not welcome, signs you see, like city gates, no junk, un-addressed mail, circulars, proudly advertising their inherent rejection of the cult of consumerism.
I don’t know Dawn’s real name, every town has one, a Delta Dawn that is, different from everyone else by reason of size, shape really it doesn’t matter. The things of legends lies and suppositions, some kind, others not. She lives with her Mother you know, mad as a meat axe. Loaded with money, poor as a church-mouse all guess, suppositions, conjecture. She walks the streets with her head down, greet her and there is a hurried look the other way, a sneaky sideways glance perhaps to check if it is her I am talking to. Dawn goes about her business, rain or shine, cold or hot, the pamphlets must get through.
I don’t suppose I will ever know her name, more shame on me but I don’t have the inclination really, the waifs and strays who are already in my life take up enough of my time let alone admitting someone else into my circle. I just don’t have the energy. This aside, I hope that someone somewhere reaches out. I read with sadness the stories of people found dead in their homes, undiscovered for months, and bemoan our society that can let such a thing happen, no friends, family not even someone who is paid to care exists in some people’s lives. For some people this is a life that is chosen, for whatever reason they choose to commit an act of exclusion, some take it to the extremes a form of deviancy social isolation to the extent of disappearing, others withdraw into their homes admitting nobody in past times we might call them hermits, sometimes seen as wise people, healers, ridiculed in public but in secret visited for help.
What is Dawn’s story I wonder, perhaps she has a disability, some phobia, psychiatric disorder, does she see live her life as rich and full? Is she happy, does she live by herself, tucked up in grey world full of grey clothes, grey food and grey existence? Some days that is how I see my life, stuck on a treadmill pondering on the sameness of my situation, a constant fight against the things that seem to be sucking the life blood from me, robbing my joy and more than anything else my spirit. I know the travel I am doing for work and the back pain are the major contributors in that. My point is that everybody has a story.
Delta Dawns, and Dons are everywhere, on occasion I help a friend cook for a community dinner. Some of the guests are just struggling families, street kids or temporary down on their luck people. Others are probably deltas, waiting for someone or something to come along in their life. They keep to themselves eat and go, if one were regular one might be able to begin a relationship, open a window into their lives. I know how it works, I have done it before and even as I write this I am engaged in a long term delta relationship. It is hard work and one always needs to be mindful of not becoming a rescuer nor an oppressor but more about that in another blog. I think I have banged on enough for right now.