Acceptance and tolerance are all well and good when it comes to impairments and disabilities, but there comes a point where you just have to worry about some people. At the cafe in the park Lyn and I go to, there are quite a few regulars. One of them is a man who has quite obvious mental health issues. I see him there almost every day, usually around the same time. The thing is, he always wears the same thing: two rather thick jackets and a thick woolen hat,.
It’s boiling out there today – one of the hottest days I can remember. Heading to the park for a coffee earlier, I thought, if I saw the guy in question there, he would have to be wearing less today. I thought it impossible, in this heat, for him to be wearing the same thick stuff he always wears.
But I was wrong. Sure enough he was there in his usual clothes, including the hat. To be honest, I was both alarmed and concerned: it must have been over thirty degrees out there; wearing so many clothes in heat like today’s could do serious damage to a body. I know he has a right to wear what he wants, but surely there comes a point where we have to intervene.
I spoke to Mike, who owns the cafe, about it. He went over and spoke briefly to the guy. I heard a nonsensical response indicative of someone with severe mental issues, and Mike left him alone. What else could he do? Should we have intervened? In today’s heat, wearing what he was wearing, there was a real chance he could lose consciousness. If someone saw me about to hurt myself due to my CP – if I was about to fall over, say – I would hope they would step in. Doesn’t the same principal apply here?