News: The definition of ‘home’ divides Londoners as two permanent bench residents watch world go by

Home is where the heart is… home is where the hatred is. There are two patently conflicting statements concerning humanity’s need for a spot of their own. The definition of what constitutes a place of our own varies from nation to nation, tribe to tribe, and indeed is complicated by what people will tolerate and/or will pro-actively desire.

Our modern age comprises many views on the standard of living. Those still able to gallivant at least part of our globe in search of sun and fun and mini-golf, unworried by climate dilemmas, have no compunction about regularly uprooting themselves for a short break there and there. Perhaps in retirement and relative wealth, they have earned such delights – or at least the self-proclaimed right to extol them.

Then there are the ’39’ or 100, the so-far nameless group of migrants within a much larger group of people who leave their country of origin; those with a home destroyed or sullied or bereft of the opportunities others would see as commonplace and ordinary: jobs, opportunities for advancement, a living wage, a clean environment; those for whom ‘home’ is a fluid concept not tied to location but rather to survival and improvement. Some are lucky enough to find these staples of life; many others do not.

The contrast between these two groups – and with a mass of people who are neither unfortunate nor especially gifted with avenues to success – continues to bewitch, to befuddle and to sadden those who strive for equality and parity.

Home therefore – in 2019 – means wherever we lay ourselves for however long we must given there may be much uncertainty, private woe and public problems behind our decision.

Today’s article on the BBC concerning a mother and son who have lived together on a park bench in London for several years produced the above thoughts and more: to pry into their lives – even with positive intentions – seems intrusive when their local community (and council) are helping in spades.

It produces a sense that their admittedly ‘different’ choice of base is one which others cannot accept on various grounds (aesthetic, practical, cultural?) forcing them to either view it as an actual mystery or puzzle to be solved or as an on-going situation for a concerned yet misguided and temporal Neighbourhood Watch of sorts. Privacy is a human right oft forgotten.

‘Home’ in this case is something else – and maybe a saying or song has yet do it justice today.

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