It’s Super being a Villain but those death rays aren’t going to pay for themselves so even a world class megalomaniac like me Lord Mole has to find the cash so I work the late shift (obviously.)
However working from 13.00 to 23.00 can mean that all those other plans I have get left on the back burner – just finding time to write this short piece was a superhuman act of planning in itself. – How? How was I going to find the time to prove Villains are better than Heroes at everything even helping the homeless?
The scheme revealed itself to me unexpectedly as the Molemobile threw a rod just before Christmas in 2016.
Leaving me the only option of “public transport” Oh the indignity! However, as it happened sitting on the bus watching the world go by gave me brooding time aplenty.
The bus passed through the centre of town and along my normal “patrol” march when I do my usual clothing and food run dropping me at the bus station at the foot of the railway bridge where many of the street people I now know to talk to sit and either busk, rest or hope for loose change.
It occurred to me sitting on the bus glaring out pondering the overthrow of local government and the rout of civilization that there were more people than ever in doorways and steps along the route but I had nothing useful on me to give and no time to stop during my working day (which even takes me out of town). I was at a loss as to how I was going to manage my time between home and work… that’s when it hit me. “The time between home and work.” I could use the time going in to work to note the number of people who looked like they needed food and warm clothes e.t.c and the time between work and home to pass it out.
But that would mean carrying food and drink to work and back again – that meant the food would be starting to spoil maybe? Also as I was on transport carrying a supply of socks, gloves, band aids and even books would become logistically problematic. I needed to have the food at one end of the journey not both.
It was a dilemma a problem to solve.
At dinner time one evening I was at a local sandwich shop and noticed they were setting aside sandwiches that had reached their sell by date. I was a regular and had moved past the infernal British obsession with weather comments and was managing to find actual conversation with the staff.
So it was I mentioned the upcoming HOPE event in Bristol on the 18th March with my frenemies The Nightswatch!! The manageress was very interested and revealed that she made sandwiches and soup for her church regularly for Stafford Outreach groups but couldn’t give away sandwiches from the shop as it was considered “stealing” by the franchise and also there are Health and Safety issues. But I am a wily dog and a Villain, we are renowned for our charm, cunning and offensive odours. By the end of my hummus and peppers with falafel wrap we had found a wicked compromise. If on a Friday she “happened to leave some food in a bag over there near the doorway and someone was to steal them and disappear into the night” There would be nothing she could do about it (It wasn’t quite like that but it sounds a whole lot more satisfyingly villainous) Thus it was I secured a weekend supply of sandwiches and rolls.
This new supply of occasional booty (not that kind of booty – the pirate kind) meant that I could manage socks and gloves – hats, waterproofs anything else that I was asked for during the rest of the week and let the regulars know I would be round on Friday or Saturday at a specific time with food too.
The time on the bus gave me thinking time and time to put notes in my diary (2 people on the Art Gallery steps, 1 in the bank doorway – 3 on the bridge –) I built up a record of where and when people were and over a couple of weeks discovered a few movement patterns, I knew where my target groups were very likely to be. Planning and managing your time using the resources you have can make you more effective – change need not be the end of your services. In fact in my case it has made me more efficient. Obviously you don’t all have Villainous charm on your side but don’t despair I’m sure there are a few misled citizens who still look up to … Heroes…
In summing up:
Work and life and activism are at odds for your time but if you make a diary and look at how you can use the information that you store in it to streamline your effectiveness.
Travel wisely (Travelwise) The time between trains or walking to a bus (in my case) is still the same distance and time I would spend just making my way home, with a few resources I turned my outward and return journeys into a patrol, Grey Man of course – though in my case more Hi Vis man (Hi Vis clothing is part of my Health and Safety role at work but it also helps when I’m on a patrol as it looks:
- Memorable – the regulars recognise me now and that helps a lot with trust.
I would end by wishing you well and some comment about staying safe out there but …well I am a Villain after all.
Lord Mole Feb 2017