There is a blind woman who wanders about on the road outside our flat in the middle of the night. She staggers around, looking frail, tapping a cane, shouting for help.
She flags down cars — or at least tries to. She does this by getting in their way. It’s heart-wrenching to watch as joyriders turn down their music, usually convinced by a girlfriend in the passenger seat that they must to do something to help her. But most ignore her.
Those who do stop try their best to help her but she always refuses what they have to offer. She’s desperate until they stop and then it becomes a negotiation.
She wants one outcome. The one no one is willing or able to give.
She’s from Croydon, she says. We’re in Deptford. I wouldn’t walk that far. You can’t expect a blind woman to. You wouldn’t expect a blind woman to be hanging out in the middle of the road at 3am in the first place but there she is. She says she has nowhere to go. She just needs money for a taxi.
We can give you a lift?
We can call a taxi for you? Or anyone?
No. I need the money.
I’m sorry. We don’t have that kind of cash.
Fuck off and die then, you selfish cunts!
The first time this happened it was distressing to watch, if darkly humorous. I watched this scenario unfold again and again for about half an hour from the window of our flat on the third floor.
I wasn’t just rubbernecking. I kept trying to call 101 — the non-emergency number for the police or an ambulance or anyone — but I couldn’t get through. I suppose it’s emergencies only at 3am. It felt like it could turn into an emergency at any moment but it never did.
And that’s right: I said “the first time”.
She woke us up for the third time in as many months last night. Traipsing up and down our street, around the block, tapping her cane, hurling the kind of abuse at cars that makes your eyes water.
At first I couldn’t be sure if she was blind or not. By now I’m almost certain it’s a farce.
Like, 90% certain…