I see him most days. He sits there. Unassuming. Undemanding. Yet he captures my attention, and my imagination. Who is he? Who was he? How did he come to be there?
Sitting outside Sainsbury's, he passes his day it would appear deep in thought. Pensive. Considering what, I often wonder?
We've had only the briefest of interactions.
I do not usually give directly to individuals, choosing instead to set up Standing Orders which leave my bank account each month. I review these annually, selecting charities whose mission appeals to me in some way.
This, I find, is a straightforward way of giving. But not, I think, a terribly engaged manner in which to do so.
We make a living
by what we get
But we make a life
by what we give
I've noticed a great many more prompts to give on the Underground of late. Right beside the ads for online dating, and the suggestion that carrying a bottle containing a particular brand of water filter will remedy even the worst of hangovers, there are calls to action from several Human Rights movements.
These reminders seek to mobilise their audience by use of shock tactics. The messages they contain hit hard, making an impact quickly and succinctly (perhaps penetrating even more sharply when the commuter on the Northern line is feeling lonely and hungover).
I can see their effectiveness - it takes very little to send a text, and confirm a gift. But it allows us to do so from a comfortable distance. SMS sent, we can move on, and away from the issue or cause brought to our attention, which quickly leaves our consciousness perhaps only moments later.
I wonder how much this really does in terms of awareness raising, since the awareness cultivated is perhaps only fleeting.
And he who sits so quietly, presenting his remaining copies of the Big Issue, is a staunch reminder that whilst we might have texted on command as we emerge from the Tube, the issue is unlikely to fade as the doors close...