16 May 2015
(updated 17 May 2015 at 15:08 UTC) »
Humans of Manchester
Three people I met today:
1) His granddaughter was a chorister at the cathedral, and she has to work very hard at Chetham's both on her schoolwork and on practicing. He'd done his national service in the army as a young man. It was a terrible two years, being ordered around by people who weren't fit to lick your boots. But he was glad of it, because he'd learned to play the system, and this knowledge comes in useful anywhere. If you were "a follower" you'd probably have got far more bored than he did. The other good thing about it was that having to learn discipline meant you got self-discipline thrown in, and that had been really useful for organising himself after he was demobbed.
2) She was in charge of all the cathedral volunteers: there were about seventy of them of all faiths and none. She herself was a Roman Catholic, which she said made very little difference in an Anglican cathedral. When she was a young girl living in Ireland, her grandfather was asked to send the kids to the local Church of Ireland school by the headmaster. The school's intake was too low to be sustainable that year otherwise. Her grandfather agreed. Soon he saw the RC priest walking down his front path to talk to him. He wouldn't go out, but he told someone to tell the priest that he was doing what was best for the community.
3) He was in the Arndale Centre, begging via psych manipulation techniques. If I hadn't been trying to get to the loo, I'd have had more fun with this.
He, walking up: "So, do YOU speak English?"
He: "Ah, I like the way you say yeeesss. My name's Daniel. What's yours?" (puts out hand; I shake it automatically; he now has eye contact. He smiles warmly. I grow increasingly suspicious.)
Me: "I'm Thomas."
He: "Well, Thomas, I was..."
Me: "Look, what's this about?"
He: "I was just wondering whether you could spare me some money for a coffee."
I gave him £1 (which was more than I could really afford) for a good try, and for teaching me a beautiful opening line. "So, do YOU speak English?" breaks the ice, and indicates he's been trying to talk to a bunch of people so he's frustrated and you'll want to help him, and makes you want to do better than all the people so far. [Edit: It also has an unpleasant racist dogwhistle side that I'd missed entirely-- thanks to Abigail for pointing it out.]
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Syndicated 2015-05-16 20:45:51 (Updated 2015-05-17 14:22:27) from Monument