I was on a bus last Sunday returning home from my day when suddenly, at a stop, an elderly woman got aboard. What attracted my attention was not her dress, it was very ordinary. Nor was it her shirt, again very bland. She was probably in her early sixties and definitely had seen better days. No, what attracted my attention were her breasts. They seemed to have migrated to her hips!
I understand dear reader your shock at reading this sentence. Usually when one talks about migrations one thinks about birds and other sort of animals, not a pair of breasts. Imagine me, who saw this strange vision coming towards me. It was clear that she was not wearing a bra and probably did not care for it. An old hippie of the 60’s perhaps I thought. But still, how could she go in public like that?
One must assume that she must have seen herself in a mirror before she stepped out of her house. How could she have thought that she looked fine? Unless she thought that her breasts hanging on her hips was a sexy thing? Maybe for a 20 year old, but not in your 60’s.
The worst part of it all was that she sat right in front of me and definitely and strangely looked at me while I desperately tried to avoid this vision of horror. I could see her looking at me from the corner of my eye while I was looking through the window just at my left. Obliquely I could see that she had fixated me at the beginning and then looked away. Perhaps she had seen my jaw drop to the floor when she entered the bus.
Now let us be honest, no one looks good as they age, and of course I must include myself. But when old people start dressing in bizarre ways and appear very strange in public, then I draw the line. We all have seen men in their 60’s and 70’s with their pants up to the armpits, or so it seemed. Is this the women’s version of being strange when you are old by wearing your breasts on your hips? I hope not because if it is I am running to the hills and becoming a hermit.
In taking public transportation I often see colorful characters on the streets or in the downtown area. Often I see them at the entrance of metro stations that go deep underground. This is where I saw this homeless person with a cardboard sign that he held high so everyone could read it. Below the sign was an empty glass. The sign said the following:
Too lazy to work
Too ugly for prostitution.
I thought that it was refreshing to see finally an honest person upfront, one who proudly declares that he is lazy and ugly and understands that this will inevitably turn off some people. But others, no doubt surprised at this apparent honesty, will give him a few coins to assuage their guilty conscience.
Of course, one has to take the affirmations of this honest fellow with a large grain of salt it seems to me. He said he was too lazy to work, and it might well be the case, but it is also possible that he simply had not found his true calling in life. I can’t believe that his calling is to be a bum and mooch off people. As for being too ugly to prostitute himself, I can only say that he looked young and scruffy and probably in his mid twenties, but can say no more on that account as those kind of relationships are not my proverbial cup of tea. To each his own I dare say.
Most people passed by him without giving anything. Even with the dog in his arms it was not sufficient to elicit a response. It was not the first time that I had seen him there and it probably won’t be the last. The metro station is warm and cozy in winter, with a captive audience to boot. I suppose that he believes that if only a fraction of those people who pass by him donate some money he will be fine. The law of averages are on his side.
I passed by him and did not give as I was not willing to encourage this sort of life. In this action I was not alone as the near totality of the people I was with barely looked at him or probably read his sign. At least he knew how to read and write correctly and that is always a good foundation to a more interesting life than that of a moocher.
I admit that I am a book reader and an avid one at that. In the past I would spend well over 200 dollars per year buying books but not anymore. Last year I only bought one book and that was all. It is not that there were less interesting books. No, I always look at the books in my bookstore like a dog looking at a bone and I salivate just as well. With my e-reader I don’t have to buy books anymore really, especially if I decide to stick to the classics or to books that have fallen in the public domain. And there lies the problem.
The public domain exists, but varies tremendously from country to country. For example, in Canada it is 50 years after the death of the author. This means that all the books by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, are in the public domain in Canada and thus can be downloaded freely from a public domain website such as Project Gutenberg Canada. But in most countries it is only after 75 years after the death of the author. Some countries even after a 100 year rule.
Of course on the web there are no borders and thus anyone can visit the Canadian website and download the books there. No one will check if they come from an American location or a European one. There is simply no way of ensuring compliance on the part of the surfer who goes on such a website. And why would they respect such crazy laws?
In my opinion even the 50 year rule after the death of the author is exaggerated. Why should the grandchildren of an author profit from the works of their ancestor that they may or may not have known? I would put in a 25 year rule only after the author’s death. The children could still profit and to me that would be just fine.