Sunday, 9 May 2010
If you walk by the bus stop on Ferdinand-Hanusch-Platz you might see them, sitting on the four metal seats that are their exclusive territory. Or you may see them go into the supermarket opposite the bus stop, to spend the few coins that they got God knows where. Their purchase is usually just cans of beer, the first one of which they are going to open before crossing the first of the two pedestrian crossings they need to cross to make it to the bus stop.
There they are, sometimes quiet and melancholic, at times vociferous and loud, but always silent witnesses of the other side, society's dark side, that let us remember every day about what could happen to anyone of us, in one of those ugly turns that life can take. A fate that is becoming more and more common and from which we tend to look away or, even worse, blame them for their misfortune; them who are the most fragile link of a society for whose smooth running we all are responsible.
Herr G is one of them. His hours pass slowly between the bus stop and the twenty something meters and two traffic lights to the supermarket, making use of his right to one of the four metal seats and observing the passers-by and people who look nervously at their watches as they wait for their bus to come. In the morning you can see him on the other side of the river, pushing an old and rusty shopping cart where he piles all his belongings up. Carefully, quietly, as the city slowly awakes, Herr G parks his shopping cart in a bend of the cycle path below the bridge. If the weather is nice, he sits on one of the benches nearby that, in the end, is the closest thing to a home that he has.
Because Herr G knows that every home needs a garden, and that's why he has taken two small green patches in front of his benches to plant some flowers, to lay out stones geometrically, to align pine cones, to give shelter to a couple of garden gnomes and even to have a colourful windmill. Herr G sits down on his bench, looks at his toy windmill and smiles in the inside before standing up again and going spend the morning at the bus stop on Ferdinand-Hanusch-Platz.
At noon, Herr G will sit down again on his bench and will let the sun warm up his tired joints, staying alert at those two teenagers that are riding their bicycles too close to his garden, ready to scare them away if necessary. Later, Herr G will close his eyes again and will take a nap.