I will be 50 in a few days and I am contemplating major upheaval in my life, and leaving Swindon – where I have no ties – and hopefully moving in with my partner. This is both timely and topical, yet it is the process that possesses me at the moment.
I have never really liked Swindon, but I have reached accommodation with it, I moved here for a better job and spent five years wishing I hadn’t and not really thinking about the future, just taken up with surviving, but I know this year it is time to move on, it time to recreate myself and head towards the future.
I know in my bones it is time for me move, I neither hate nor love Swindon or the people I work with, though recently someone of them have become really nice people, but I wonder if that is because I have given them a chance, and taken the to see them as who they really are? Last Night I got on a Bus and rode round the town, like someone leaving their home for the last, I took a cold hard look at the town, it was a neutral place, in fact just somewhere I have lived, but (in my heart at least) live no longer.
Having spent a week with my partner the strands that connect to this town were broken, I liked not having to commute, I liked spending time in separate rooms ‘doing our own thing’ without having to make each visit an occasion. I have been fortunate in that two jobs have come up which could mean a move to the West Midlands is feasible, I just have to get one of them!
As I was going round Swindon I remembered moving here, it was slightly terrifying as I had to find somewhere to live first, a room to rent was a good option and of the several I looked at one still burns in my brain. It was a family with a teenage daughter who were desperate to rent their room out. As I recall it was quite a large room and I was promised the daughter would be kept quite (working earlies means I am in bed by 10pm).
Looking at the map of Swindon the room was several miles from the town centre, and since I did not have a car it wasn’t practical, but the emails kept coming. They had a scooter I could have, I could be dropped in the town, and with each rebuttal (polite and kind of course) the sense of desperation increased. It transpired this was a last-ditch attempt at keeping the family home and they were prepared to accept strangers to do it. The family was desperate.
I couldn’t take the room, it was far too impractical, but the sense of empathy remains today, just as strong today as it did then. It broke my heart to think people could get this desperate, good hard-working people reaching a desperation point.
This was five years ago, just on the verge of ‘austerity Britain’ – the real crisis had yet to hit us. I wonder where they are now, how many other people have passed from comfortable to rock bottom?
Whilst I rant at the political ineptitude of this Government, as I rile against the stupidity of the legislation I forget that the tragedy is not played in Parliament, it is played out along the street, behind he static frowns, the forced smiles. The politics of the nation are not those played in the Westminster but on the street, the two have become divorced; one theoretical the other practical. I am not sure how we do it but we need to get our politicians to reconnect to the people they leech off.
Politics are personal, the only way we can make sense of our society is to talk of the individual and not the collective, tragedy is personal. The decisions taken my Cameron, Merkel, Obama, and the world leaders are decisions taken for countries and not for people.