What I can't work out Reader, is why the riots keep happening. Tescos near my work is smashed like something out of a Stephen King novel about the end of the world and I saw families with duvets and ASDA bags stuffed with clothes leaving by car. A balaclava lay on the ground my the hedge, but was gone by the afternoon. The Lad works in Ealing, where the local area has been completely decimated. Yesterday at work I kept my phone out all day (a cardinal sin in a call centre) in case I needed to head home in a hurry. The customers at the cafe I sat in before work kept asking 'where is the army?'. Normal people are talking about violence and retribution, about turning chaos back upon even the youngest of the rioters.
Despite this, one wonderful has come out of it, and that's the community spirit. Carpenters are working for free to restore shop fronts, local teenagers like my brother and his friends are offering their services as street cleaners and manual labour.
Going to work feels odd. No-one was happy to be in London, everyone either scared or angry. Every song on the radio sounded strangely ironic and I saw some strange sights, like a teenager with suspiciously clean trainers riding a bike with no seat (obvious much?) and children who haven't even started growing leg hair bragging about people they knocked out. This is not my London.
Yesterday morning my mum asked me to try and come up with the mindset of the looters. How can they see this as being right> They have so much anger, no empathy. Where did I gain the skills of empathy? From my parents, my friends, the books and films I've watched. I've been lucky. I started in Tottenham with practically no money, but a brilliant support system. My parents have worked ridiculously hard their whole lives to move to a nice area and be able to afford a few luxuries. Maybe if I had parents who told me that the government was out to get me, that the police should be feared, grew up around wannabe gangsters and had a shit education. But I know people who have grown up in that environment, and they're still decent members of the community who wouldn't dream of harming another person or looting a shop.
I have no answers.
What I do know is that today has been calmer. No riots. No violence that I'm aware of. Just sunshine. And with that, a bit more hope. The streets are fuller, people are talking again and a nationwide clean-up is taking place. Plus, I'm going to visit Ireland soon, something I haven't done in years. Which means soda bread, Taytos and red lemonade....words cannot explain my excitement. Yes, I will be coming back 5 stone heavier, but my god it'll be worth it!
Peace out Reader!