Monday, March 9, 2009

The Big Issue

There is a magazine in the UK sold by homeless street vendors which helps homeless people to earn some money legally. You can recognize them from miles by shrilling aloud in different tones of voice repeating "Here is The Big Issue!!!" and holding a big stack of the magazine. Everytime I pass by one of them I find their deafening scream very annoying, I was seriously thinking about to make a study of which irritating voice inflection is the most effective in selling these papers. One day when I was walking on the street I saw an ungroomed, middle-aged woman standing in silence on the corner turning to people who walked past her. I thought she was just a street beggar but as I got closer - to my biggest surprise - I realized she was holding one copy of The Big Issue in her hand showing to the people. Needless to say her silence was a very remarkable phenomenon on the street: I saw the surprised face of walking people and their searching gaze as if they were asking "What's wrong with her? Why is she not shouting?" First I thought she was mute but when I stepped to her she said "Good morning!" with a shy smile. 

That was the first time I bought The Big Issue. It was the last one she had.

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