Poverty Wears Many Disguises

Poverty wears many disguises...
Poverty wears many disguises...

As I sit here in Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty, and Molly Malone's is letting it all "hang out" so-to-speak, I am penning this hub from this nice cozy cafe here. I am far from my place where I usually reside, with fellow hubber Cassy (Cheeky Girl) in the London apartment and our home comforts. I am in a strange city here, as it lies in the grips of a deep financial recession and its people are burdened by high taxes, levies and high prices in general.

Most people we have met seem more interested in getting their shopping in the North of Ireland than here in the Republic of Ireland, such is the price difference. So here we are seeing the sights and having some coffees. Cassy just popped out to buy a CD and in the meantime, I will explain the shock that led me to write this hub.

I have just witnessed a sad event, not something I am used to seeing. I am British, and we have a good standard of living there in the UK, despite what you may hear. But here, in this cafe in Dublin, a middle aged woman has just wandered in, and walked straight over to an empty table where a couple previously sat. On the table is a half-eaten sandwich and two finished coffees. The middle aged woman is well dressed, with an almost posh air about her, refined, though slightly frail. And she is sporting a large floppy shopping bag, inside which is another paper bag.

What she does next just stuns me. She never looks around, or gives herself away – looking for all the world like anyone who had a right to be there, like some typical person. She picks the half eaten sandwich up off its plate with bits of lettuce and meat in it, and stuffs the sandwich into her capacious shopping bag. Then she turns to leave the cafe.

I am bewildered. Dumbstruck. As she passes me, she sees me. I must have looked surprised, because something about my demeanour prompted her to say something to me. In a low even voice – she whispered – “...it’s for the doggy at home...” in what sounded like a refined Dublin accent and then she continued stiffly towards the exit, and out of the cafe, looking every inch the dame.

So, like – okay. Maybe I am paranoid. Maybe it’s nothing and there is some hungry dog at home waiting for some scraps of food, and it’s already on the way. Maybe she was a well-to-do spinster and did not want to leave those good scraps to be thrown out, and she was simply taking advantage of the situation. All those expensive clothes she wore lead me to believe that she was what she appeared to be. In the back of my mind, a little voice begged to differ. When Cassy returned with her music CD, I told her the story of what happened. She was surprised. I described it just as it happened, and asked her opinion. Cassy thought for a moment, and then suggested the woman was a fake. She was not posh at all, but hard up, and living on a pittance and money was so tight, that she was resorting to stealing scraps off cafe tables. And said the food was for her, not some dog. Cassy said a real posh lady would have asked the owners of the cafe if she could have a doggy bag for the scraps. H’mm, interesting! I felt the woman had been genuine and so we left the cafe and each of us had our different opinion as to what really happened.

Money- what it all comes down to.
Money- what it all comes down to.

We are meeting up with a friend of mine called Paddy, a student I know who is here for a year, and we head across O’Connell Street and wait at Clery, a huge store – and we are laughing and taking pictures with our cameras. It's pretty cold out, and we are glad of our warm coats. Some texts later, and Paddy Joins us. He is a nice young Irish guy, looking to get a good degree and get out of Ireland and get a job in Australia, or Canada or the UK. We are heading up across the city center and as we pass another cafe on the corner with Malborough Street, I suddenly see someone sitting in the cafe at a window. It’s our lady friend from the cafe earlier. Here she is in another cafe. Same clothes, same posh look, same face. And she is sitting there sipping a cup of tea.

I quickly tell Paddy and Cassy. We stand and pretend not to watch, but Paddy gives a commentary, describing what she is doing. Then he says the woman is eating something from out of a bag. I look over at her through the glass window, and sure enough, she is dipping her hand into the shopping bag, and taking something out and cramming it into her mouth. Cassy is amazed. I won't repeat what my girlfriend said. We are all amazed. She’s eating the damn sandwich from out of her shopping bag, and hiding it from view. Another person in the cafe is also noticing her. The security guy is looking right at her, and he just stands there and says nothing. Not a thing.

We leave the woman to her tea and half-eaten sandwich and continue on our way. It is obvious that Cassy was right. The woman was a fake posh lady. I look around at all the large Christmas lights that will soon be extinguished and removed and the festive street will return to its usual state. The colourful decor will be put away for another year. And soon, both Cassy and I will be heading back home to the UK and to our warm apartment.

I can’t stop thinking about the woman and her darn half-eaten sandwich. A few less wrinkles and she could be my own mother. I wonder what life has in store for her. The well-to-do woman who pinched a half-eaten sarnie from an empty table and ate it out of a shopping bag in some cheap and cheerful cafe nearby. Was that the highlight of her day? So many questions flood my mind. What was she going to do for dinner? Was there even going to be a dinner?

Poverty can dress itself up any way it likes, but it is still poverty. Cheap Chique, fake rich, fake nouveau riche, phoney Celtic tiger...whatever. Hardship wears many disguises – or wears none at all. It may appear one thing, but really just be another person living on the breadline, or worse. In many ways I have found Ireland’s rich capital no different from my own or anywhere else. Poverty can dress itself up to look acceptable and blend in with normal society, but it will still be someone suffering hardship. Beneath the facade or normality, there are desperate people who literally steal food off tables. It makes me feel grateful for the life I have and the good health and friends I have in my life. Some are not so lucky. Some people clearly struggle through life. I can find that hardship in the cafes and restaurants as well as the streets and pubs or anywhere else I look. Poverty wears many disguises indeed.


Copyright (c) 2010 to 2014 Cathy Nerujen. All rights reserved.

Source

More by this Author


Comments 88 comments

ninjacraze profile image

ninjacraze 6 years ago from Pakistan

Welcome Astra Nomik to Hub Pages


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

Hy Cathy! Uh, I mean Astra Nomik! Mwaaah! Wow! You did it! And what a great Hub to start with! Make sure to advertise here! LOL! I am so very impressed! I remember that woman and her eating the crappy sarnie out of a shopping bag, looking like she owned a factory or something. It made me sick. It made me think a lot too.

Congradulations on your first ever Hub! You got a comment already! First day! I didn't get that! LOL!


nezputa profile image

nezputa 6 years ago from South Africa

Good job for a start, hope to see more soon and welcome


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

To Ninjacraze: Thankyou, you are my first ever replier to my first hub. I am honoured.

To Cheeky Girl: Nice to receive you comments, Cassy. Ever thought of updating your picture, I mean your Avatar? Hehehehehe!

To nezputa: Thankyou for your warm words to my first ever hub. I will check out your hubs as well.


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Cathy great 1st Hub but jeeez you 2 girls 100 miles from my house down in Dublin and ya didn't pop down for a drink, another time girls ! Poverty is indeed everywhere and for some losing their dignity is the worst, we should indeedy be thankful for our lil comforts, look forward to more from you young lady !


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Welcome to Hubpages Astra. I like your style. Congrats on publishing your first hub!


aakashlaghari profile image

aakashlaghari 6 years ago

nice theory

ilike ur hub

nice interesting goood

love u

welcome hp


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

Wow! We could have popped into see TattoGuy! What the hell were we thinking!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hey TattoGuy, you are near Dublin? How did we not get that then? I have to see cass about that. That would have been cool. Imagine us pair of dopes not seeing you are in Belfast. I have never been there before. Yes, I know there is more poverty amongst us than we imagine. Cass is doing a hub on Aung San Suu Kyi. I recommended the subject as a hub. I should have formally asked for it through the Hubs. I'm reading your comment Cass. ha! So you will be reading more from me, TattoGuy, I promise. We loved your Gorey Hubs on vampires and Zombies.

Green Lotus - thankyou for your encouragement. I need it if I am to ever beat Cheeky Girl's record and rating. Or all the other great Hub writers I am reading. You write very nice hubs too.

Aakashlaghari - I am part-Asian so I look at tons of Asian Hubs here. You have a lovely Photo, I can see flowers all around you. Love you too, thankyou for the wonderful comments. : )

Yaay, cheeky woman. Take your head out of the books and publish those hubs so we can do other stuff, you workaholic.


chrissie123 profile image

chrissie123 6 years ago

This was great! Interesting work! I want to go to ireland I'd get to see my heritge. All my family on my dads side is irish. I haven't been out of america, hell I have only been to 6 states here lol


chrismarva profile image

chrismarva 6 years ago

There are so many people that would not give that woman a second thought. I am so proud of you for caring. It is the first step on the road to helping, and we can all help others in some way. I wrote a poem called “Thank You for Being You” and it is for people with the mindset that you have. I hope you get a chance to read it. Your friend in Canada, Chris

http://hubpages.com/literature/Thank_You_for_Being


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Thankyou for the comments, chrissie. (Mind if I drop the 123 just for here) Well, the Irish are a very funny and loud bunch of people. I know a lot of "paddies", Chrissie, there's a few here in HubPages. I mean that in the nice way. Some Irish people dont like that word and get uppity, and I dont want to end up "cream- crackered". Ireland is a really nice place, I have been to Dublin and Galway (last year) already. If you like a pint, you may never want to leave the place. My heritage is from India and Thailand and UK, so I prefer my Brit bit. (?) Why have you not visited other states there? Your country is huge. Thanks for stopping by.

To chrismarva: You are very kind to say that. I will visit your hub link now after this, Chris. Glad to make a new friend in Canada! Gee, I feel right at home here. I see now why cheeky girl is so into the hubs.


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Hurry up and write another hub ya lazy git, jeeeez like sort it out Cathy, cheers for the mention on yer profile, I deff love you two girls to bits.

I still can't work out how to do those links on the profile but gonna get a friend to show me, now you moi friend get typin, loves ya x


jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

Nice hub, well written. Keep it up.

Poverty is there everywhere in the world.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

To jacobkbuttyta: Hy. Thankyou for the kind words. Yes, poverty is certainly all around, and not in the obvious places. After this experience, I know there's no such thing as an obvious place any more. I am getting my head around it. Its in the UK high streets too.


allie8020 profile image

allie8020 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

Very interesting hub! In America, poverty is also everywhere. It's heartbreaking to see previously upper-class and middle-class people wait in line for free food and groceries.

Your hub reminded me of documentary done about 10 years ago about homelessness in wealthy Beverly Hills, California. Some previously-wealthy ladies lost their homes due to divorce and financial problems. They were living in their cars (Mercedes Benz, of course) and using hotel restrooms to do their "bath" and other personal care. They were eating sample foods in grocery stores. I'm sure some of them were also doing what fake posh lady was doing. Some of the homeless ladies in Beverly Hills mentioned that continuing to dress as a wealthy woman (they wore fur and jewelry) helped them avoid being questioned and thrown out of fancy hotel restrooms, grocery stores and shops -- which helped them use the facilities for free as well as get free food and other freebies. I'm sure we have lots of "fake posh ladies" all over the world, but we just don't realize it.

Thanks for writing this great hub! :)Allie


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello Allie8020. Thanks for commenting here. I have never been to America, (my friend Cassy aka Cheeky Girl has) but I can imagine some of the problems you mention here. You mentioning the people in furs and looking like that so as not to get throen out of places and avoid being questioned really reminds me of that woman in the restaurant that day. So it happens over there too. Well, I have learned a lot these past few weeks. I am terrified of being poor, and I hope it never happens to me.

You are very observant to notice these things. You sound like a caring person. Thankyou for these comments. Take care, Allie. : )


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Addendum for Allie8020: Cheeky Girl was telling me about your interesting comments you made. She is now reading a book on screen writing, thanks to you. This is so funny. Whatever you did, it was just great. ha! You have made a great friend here, Allie. Thankyou again.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 6 years ago

I think she didn't harm anyone and she is still trying to live the nice life.Maybe circumstances beyond her control put her in this situation.Maybe she is mentally ill.I often see people who look for hand outs and money.I have respect for her she did it quietly and maybe had to much pride to ask the owner if she could have the food.It was going to be trashed anyway.It is hard seeing people in rough times.It is nicer to appreciate what we have and give them some compassion and understanding.


blaise25 profile image

blaise25 6 years ago from close to you...

Ow, that was shocking. I am surrounded by different poverty scenes but this hub of yours shocked me. So hard seeing people struggling to hard times.

Kudos for your first hub Cathy! You write so well just like your Cheeky Girl :) I'll be reading your next..


cashmere profile image

cashmere 6 years ago from India

Hard times bring about different coping mechanisms. There is so much poverty in India it needs no disguises. It is there at every corner in the street trying to make a living by selling you a newspaper at the red light or wiping your car when you take your family out for a meal. Great hub. Welcome to hubpages.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

I love to hear stories about humanity, how we respond, what we think. You noticed this woman for a reason, you both walked into that cafe and you both noticed each other. to see her again, wow, there's a lesson for you and it appears you got it! it affected you so much, you wrote about it. what a great first hub! keep writing and noticing the world around you. it's the journey we're all on!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

@ Dream on: Thankyou for the comment. Yes, she was too proud and was too poor to do what she did any other way. Cassy told me not to draw attention in the cafe which I didn't. She was just trying to get by, but it is so sad to see it with my own eyes.

@blaise25: Now you are putting me under presure, because this hub took ages to write. I helped Cassy with the Beach House hub, so that counts a little maybe. Thankyou for visiting always, blaise (there's some widget on Cassy's apartment Hubs page with your name, if that's important...) I caught her poring over your poetry. She loves your work.

Cashmere, my Dad is British but he is Indian. (My Moher is Thai) I know exactly what you mean by this. He finds it hard to even talk about.

RebekahELLE: This is fantastic. yes, I amseeing your point, and you must be psychic, because that's what I am planning here with my hubs, deciding what to write next. Asia is never far from my heart, in truth. I am glad

Thankyou everyone for these kind responses to my hub. Number 2 is arriving very soon.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 6 years ago

I am excited and waiting.I love to see other hubbers with such heart.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

DREAM ON: That is kind of you to say so. More to come.


Miss Take 6 years ago

er i live in Dublin, people here think nothing of asking the people in the restraunts to wrap up a sandwich to take home,,,,, we could have met up maybe next time,


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

@ Miss Take: NIce to meet you. Waat I saw did surprise me, but dont get me wrong, I find Ireland and Dublin a very friendly place. I know friends there, and they love it, I was just surprised by that lady that day. In lots of countries they do that too. In Asia, people will routinely do that. In India and in the Philippines, carry-out is part of the service if you want it. It's just that she never bought anything there, just walked in and took the sandwich and put it in her bag.

Meet up next time?


blaise25 profile image

blaise25 6 years ago from close to you...

hello again Cath! Beach House, I'll check that out :) Hey dont be pressured, you write so well, trust me :) Widget in CG apartment? Didnt see that one yet. Ah, my poetry...too much drama on them that sometimes I think it's too much already..You guys flatter me a lot! you get XOs for that :)


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello blaise25: Yes, do check out Beach House. I wasn't sure until I listened a few times, and I was hooked. The lady who is the vocalist has a haunting voice. (I even sneaked it into work the other day for a listen. I'm very naughty!) Cass will read this now! Shit! HEHEHE! Um, don't know what page in the Apartment website there that has the best of your hubs, it's something called a widget from Hub Pages. I don't know how she did that, damn she is tricky!!! HEHEHE! Well she has so many fans, plus we think you are cool! Plus you nominated her for an award. Plus you are a cool poet. Ok, no drama, but you get XOs from us always. : )


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

I like the way you presented it as it is, but more the sensitivity that you infused in your writing about it. What you posted is naked truth. Thank you.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hy msorensson: Thankyou for your kind words. I get told by friends I am the sensetive type and should be "more thick-skinned" but it is easy to say, much harder to be. I wrote it as it came into my head, to be honest. You are kind for saying this. I will check out your hubs also! : )


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Thankyou everybody for the wonderful comments here. I really appreciate it. The new Poetry hub is now published here also.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Welcome to HubPages. Your first Hub is a winner. I think it is great and I have never seen a first Hub garner so many comments. Congratulations!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello again, James: Wow, thank you for this. I am planning more poetry and other kinds of hubs here. Yes, I seem to have grown a lot of fans! A certain lady here on hub pages had a lot to do with that. And I love the community spirit here too. I love all the new friends I have made. I don't get as many comments as you in your hubs. Gosh, you get LOTS! : )

Best wishes to you, James. I look forward to visiting your hubs too.


BeccaHubbardWoods profile image

BeccaHubbardWoods 6 years ago from Outside your window...

indeed it does.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello BeccaHubbardWoods: I loved reading your hubs earlier. You are a great writer. Thank you for the comment here!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi I cried hehe, dont ask me but I cried for that lady and the poverty in different worlds, different face, this touched me, thank you, and you're a good soul, Maita


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

Cathy, let me know when the poem is ready...! Can I sneak a peek?


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Maita, I am sorry if it had that effect. I tried to not make the subject bleak, but it was pitiful seeing her stuff a sandwich in her shopping bag. In future, I would buy the woman a cup of tea and the damn sandwich, the few coins would not make any difference to me. I would be a bit scared if it was a guy, it might depend on him.(I had a bad experience with a guy who got stroppy with me once.) If it touched you that way, then you have a good soul, Maita. That is how souls work I think. Thanks for your comments here. :)

Cheeky Girl, you are so nosey. The poem is not 100% done. Please have patience. (laughing here at you) You crack me up sometimes! XXX


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Astra, great people who have great souls are friends, Thank you so much, Maita


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Maita, oh my! Well, that's official! Thank you. I am glad. Yes, you are a friend to me, to us I mean. x


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

I had to nip in here for another read of this great hub, Cathy my dear! xx


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

I am always glad to have you here!!!!.... XXX


alternate poet profile image

alternate poet 6 years ago

nice compassionate piece of observation - I like your style.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello alternate poet: thank you for the kind comments. I like your style too! :)


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

I really had to come back and read this hub about Poverty again. It really does wear many disguises. It seems to be appearing in the news a lot these days! XX


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello, Cassy. Yes, it is getting way lots of coverage on tv and radio. What is the deal? How did that happen? I saw an election program and it was about this. Maybe its just the week that is in it? Do you find it weird that we send messages like this to each other in the hubs? :) I am chiding you. Its ok!! XXXX


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Great Hub and a topic we all need to consider and discuss more. Thanks for delivering this true life account of what really goes on while we rush about or days taking what we have for granted. Peace :)


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Thank you Katie for this. There is a lot of strange and curious things in life happening every day that make for unusual observation. Seeing this woman doing what she did caught me by surprise. I do wonder where she is now. And she is not alone, I am sure. Take care, Katie.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I know this is absurd but maybe it will be something you can relate to, there once was a lady I worked with, she would set her lunch out on her desk and eat it very slowly. She would get to the half way mark, a half eaten sandwich and leave it set and set, it drove me crazy, it was so gross to have food laying about on her desk for half the day. On occasions I would ask, may I throw this away for you and she would reply, "no thank you I'm still eating it" She never did eat the damn sandwhich. Day after day she did this and finally I learned to igore her and that half eaten sandwhich... Thanks and Peace :)


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Hey Astra, interesting post indeed. I agree that poverty and hard times cast a dark shadow on even the posh or upper or middle class what ever we want to label them. I suppose she was as embarassed as heck to even do what she did, but there are people who live in the streets of our world eating out of garbage cans and sad to say many of them had careers and education, but life caught up to them, maybe drugs, booze, divorce, debt or whatever and forced them into the streets. No matter which way we look at this scenario, I am glad that she swallowed her pride and found a solution to her hunger, be it dressed as a posh lady or a beggar. My hat goes off to the lady with the half eaten sandwich, she got to finish it. Great observation and detective work on your behalf, ha....Big UP from me.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello Katie: Sorry for not replying sooner, my laptop had a meltdown. I am glad to be back again.(with a new power unit.) The lady with the slow half-eaten sandwich sounds interesting. My sister eats her food slowly and drives my mother crazy, she re-heats it for her. And my sister does not like putting on weight. She says food is sometimes tasteless or too dry, or some excuse. I don't live at home anymore so I am not privy to the arguments any more. Some people are just "faddy" eaters. (An Irish friend of mine uses that lovely word, for people who are fussy and so particular about some things.) Interesting stories. I think ignoring her is the right move, Katie. Thank you for sharing this. Me, I love my food! The lady I live with (Cassy) is a great cook. Too good! Ha!

Hy saddlerider1: I hear whet you are saying. She showed no embarrassment that I could see beyond saying it was for her dog, only to find her eating it later in another place with a cup of tea. I know it was poverty at the heart of it. But she could be any person's mother, or neighbor or friend or acquaintance, that's what shook me. How "normal" she otherwise seemed. I have seen people who eat out of bins and check bags for missed good bits of food that are disposed of. If I could find a way to keep people from resorting to this way of life and keep them healthy and live longer, I would do it unconditionally. It is worth it. Swallowing pride is an important side of life, and surviving. I do hope the lady is okay, wherever she is in her life. I do think of her. I certainly won't forget her. Thank you for the nice generous comments here.


SummerSteward profile image

SummerSteward 6 years ago from Duluth MN

Great hub! When we stop to look around us, it can be quite sad whats really going on. This was a well written thought provoking piece. Great perspective and I thank you for spreading awareness.

Wonder eyed


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello Summer: I am so glad you like it. I have only 2 hubs so far. My studies keep me prisoner for most of the time. I will be doing more. Your words I find encouraging. Thank you Summer. I am glad that you can look at the world wonder eyed. That's a great quality to have. :)


Literature Fairy profile image

Literature Fairy 6 years ago from England, UK.

That is such a sad story! But a wonderfully written hub! You have talent! You should get more hubs on here!! x


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hello Literature Fairy Thank you for the kind comments. Yes, I am planning at least 2 more hubs for here. I appreciate this. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Astra Nomik - This was an astronomical effort for your very first hub. You definitely have a flair for writing narrative. Keep it up.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi drbj: I like the astronomical comment! I will be putting another hub up soon. Thank you for the encouragement. :)


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

The poverty message here is very touching.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Thank you Cassy. That is sweet of you. XXX


tdarby profile image

tdarby 6 years ago

Such a good share--thanks for getting the thoughts out there. Poverty is brutal and it respects no age or demographic.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi tdarby, many thanks for the comment. Yes, I weep when I think of the people with nothing and have to humiliate themselves just to survive. Brutal is the word. And there is much worse than what I have written here.


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida

Hi Astra; I enjoy your style - I feel as though I am there with you. I guess this woman is from 'my era' where we can't stand waste. It probably was for her dog... or she will have salvaged it in some way. I can imagine how shocked you were though. My kids get embarrassed when they go out to a restaurant with me because I always ask for a box to take any left-overs home - after all, the food is usually way over-priced! I too am British but come from a different age group... so I can understand the 'old lady' in a way (even though I think it is kind of pitiful) I really do think she probably took the sandwich for her dog (at least, I hope)!!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi brightforyou: it's lovely to get your comments again. I admit the thought occurred to me about the sandwich she nicked off the plate might be for someone other than her, and other friends said as much to me. But seeing her later eating the sandwich out of the shopping bag in another cafe was disappointing. I know food can be expensive, in Dublin it's a miracle the whole population isn't snatching food off other people's plates, the food is so pricey. Eur3 for a coffee! Eur4 for a sandwich.

I understand about people getting "carry out". I often think of it in my mind, wondering what prompted her, her dog, or the noises of hunger in her tummy?...


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida

Hi Astra, I hadn't read the part where you saw her eating the sandwich in another cafe (and I guess it must have been the same sandwich); yeah...that's pretty desperate (and in another Cafe too) poor old biddy, perhaps, despite her fancy clothes (which could have come from a time when she was well-off), she was "one sandwich short of a picnic" as we say or (not all there). Your pieces really make me think - I mean, how lonely must she be and isolated - so much so that she doesn't care any more what people think, she isn't relating to social norms, she is just responding to need. Very interesting. You've really got a good sense for writing; your work stimulates conversation and I thoroughly enjoy it - well done!


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

Cheeky Girl agrees!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Brightforyou, I am glad you told me that, it's quite okay. The article will make more sense now. Your comment about her not relating to social norms is interesting. Taking a sarnie from one cafe to another to eat it out of a shopping bag...I shudder at the thought of it. I wonder what her story was. Her explanation about it being for the dog seems now like the first response that came into her poor head.

Her needs must be great. Her appearance threw me off somewhat. Thank you for these kind compliments, that's nice of you. I had better write more hubs here.

@ Cheeky Girl:

Hello, Cassy. Thanks for this! XOX


Lifeallstar1 profile image

Lifeallstar1 6 years ago

WOW!! I have to say that I was glued to every word in this story. I loved how you wrote this. It was written like you were telling friends of your shocking day and trip. I loved how you included the names of places, and you write like we are your friends. It's a great quality. You should right novels. They would be so gripping that someone could not put it down and just want to turn the page to find out what happens next. You make your surrounding so vivid that I feel I was there. True talent, honestly.

As for what you did write about, while reading I had the same response Cheeky Girl had and that was the sandwich was for her (the lady not Cheeky..LOL) because she walked in to basically get a snack for her dog all dressed up which just doesn't add up. It had to be for her, which it was and that's so sad. I wonder what happened. Were those her normal clothes that she always wore but something happened in her life to make her lose all her money, did she have a home and couldn't afford to buy food but trying to hang on to what she has until she can bounce out of this but its hard to imagine that she wouldn't go to a soup kitchen type of place or friends for help, rather than eat that sandwich which could have had germs on it. This really makes you think and wonder. Thank you for sharing this! Great hub! Jess


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Jess. This was my first hub. It took me ages writing it, it was a diary I had written and I typed it in here. Yes, the city is impressive but I was caught by surprise when the old lady just came in like that and stuffed the food in her shopping bag.

Me write novels. I confess I am not a novel writer, and though I love reading them, I prefer poetry, since it is more free and less rules attached. People like Cassy can plan and plot things, whether they have an ending or not. Me, I find that hard as I write about what happens to me and it's not always complete.

I majorly wrote this because I wondered what was going to happen to the woman, and it just bugged me and I wrote about it. If I have strong feelings about a thing or person, I am sure to write on the subject. I am an emotional writer, this I know.

Oh the snack was probably not for her dog. That was her making that lame excuse. And it is pitiful. And seeing her later in another cheaper cafe, sipping the cup of tea, and eating the "nicked" sandwich from out of her shopping bag, looking every inch middle class well-to-do. Well, it just goes to show we can't be surprised any more.

I sound like my own mother saying this. Lol. It's just what she would say. Ha. Yes, the woman was well dressed, Jess. She looked rather grand, and well off. But she was obviously living on hard times that might have been tough for her to admit or tell anyone. And so there she went, nicking a sandwich off a plate right in front of me.

The soup kitchen idea is interesting. I suppose it is possible. I would have happily paid for fish and chips or a chicken dinner for her. I mean, she was a woman, so I doubt anything bad might happen, had I offered. The thought of eating food with germs and handled by other people, that just disturbs me. It also means I am probably spoiled by my own standard of living. I have since this holiday trip, seen similar things happen in London and beyond. Hidden poverty, what a strange thing to write a first hub about. Well, I am like you, I have made the jump now into writing in Hub Pages.

I look forward to reading more of your hubs too, Jess. You seem like a genuine nice person. You get my respect and appreciation for being such a fan. Bless you, Jess. Take care, have a nice weekend.


b.crowe profile image

b.crowe 6 years ago from Morrow La

Sad, breaks my heart you descrbed it so well i felt like i was there with you. Thank you very touching.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi b.crowe: it is I think a sign of the times for the people in that city, and where is that old lady now, I wonder? Thanks for reading and for your nice comments. :)


lisa42 profile image

lisa42 6 years ago from Sacramento

Food is something many of us take for granted, but about 1/6 of the world's population doesn't have enough to eat. And I doubt women like the one you mentioned here are even included in those statistics. Sad statistic. Well-written hub.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Lisa42. Nice to see your comments. Obviously the woman mentioned here would be not on that statistical radar. Which shows what a peculiar world it is that we live in. Sad indeed. Thanks, I must check your hubs also.


kims3003 6 years ago

Very gifted and talented writer indeed!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi kims3003: I am honored by these lovely comments. Thank you so much. Have a great day. :)


jof155 6 years ago

good work, interesting hub.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi jof155, thank you for the comments. This was my first hub. Yes, it's a funny old world. Take care.


NikiiLeeReyes 6 years ago

You captivated the moment and delivered your story so eloquently.

You are right; poverty does wear many disguises.

In fact most of the time they disguise themselves to be accepted by society.

This shows us (readers) that social structure still lives on tothis day.

I love the way you write and express yourself.

I wish I'd known you in person.

You took me to the streets of Dublin and I felt like I was there with you and cheeky girl.

I hope you are okay;

the realization of this must be harsh.

But everyone has their time.

God bless, --Nikki


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Nikki, thank you for the comments here, yes, the woman caught me by surprise. I would never have figured that happening right in that restaurant. As for social structure, I don't care for a social structure that leaves the poor woman so poor she has to steal food off the table right in front of me. By the way, Nikki, this was my first ever hub I wrote. I knew nothing about hubs and just wrote about this cos it was bugging me terribly.

I wish I knew you in person too, Nikki. :) Meeting you for a coffee and chat would be so fun. Hah. You are a smart lady, you know stuff. I am fine today, and in good health. I am grateful for that. I hope you are okay too. Take care. :)


NikiiLeeReyes 6 years ago

Wonderful first hub, through your writing you present yourself as -- experienced. Yes that's the word. Yes, that sounds nice; maybe I should write about that.. haha my 'day' with you..Don't mind me; I love to use my imagination.

No, no sorry sorry; when I said Social Structure--Maybe I should've explained why. In our society appearance means everything. Would you have thought she was going cafe to cafe picking up half-eaten meals if you didn't see her engaging in the activity itself by just looking at her? I doubt that you would. Because Neither would I. I had a similar experience back in High School. My dad found out I had a girlfriend and that I was seriously committed to her. Which I was. Against my mothers wishes he kicked me out. For almost 5 months. I made it my business to eat breakfast and lunch in school everyday. I found myself house-hopping hoping that eventually someone would offer me a meal. My sister couldn't afford to feed me, her son and her husband every single day. As long as I saw my nephew eating there was no problem for me. No one would ever think that I've ever went through this. Or was going through it at the time. I maintained my 'image' blend-able. No one would suspect I was broken, and hungry. I managed to hold myself together.

I think about that now reading this and I realize, maybe like me; she is around narrow-minded people, who wouldn't understand her situation. Who think money is everything. She would have to pretend for a while until she gains her composure again, just to keep her 'title' so she wouldn't be mocked at or cast-out. It happens both ways in each community--the poor who become rich & the rich that become poor. Not only do they gain or lose anything--but they really loose their own friends in this process.

I'm glad you're in good health--I'm good too thanks. talk to you soon.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Nikki, thanks for this. Gosh, this is a very interesting perspective you present here. I am so amazed. You are right. I'd never have thought she was going cafe to cafe. It's because I saw her later drinking a cup of tea, in that other cafe. You have a very good point here.

This is a great comment, you have made me think here. I am amazed your father threw you out for wanting to be committed to your girlfriend. My Dad had similar negative feelings about me and girlfriends, but he'd have never done that. My mother would have rebelled. And it's more complicated, as my young sister is bi as well, so it's...Heh...as I said complicated. But my Dad came around to our way of thinking, for the sake of the family stability. Cassy helped to change things for the better for me here too. I owe her so much.

You always make me think, Nikki. Take care my friend. :D


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

....so this is where it all started eh! My my goodness you ladies should have your own reality TV show after reading this hub - a bit of WILD ON from the E entertainment network, a bit of the VIEW, a bit of 60 MINUTES thrown in, and the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC too ..... I always enjoy your writing so it makes perfect sense to record a video diary and go on some more road trips - and you know that the epi-man is with you all the way - because I am so thereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 6 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Colin, yes, this is my starter hub. :) A reality show? Mmmh. Would you settle for checking out the serialized chapters of Cassy's imminent new book instead? Some naughty tripping of the lights fantastic through her life, and mine, and happening over on Channel Cheeky. Hahahaha. Going live this weekend, and all very girly. Right up your street, Colin. LOL. It's better than a video diary, I promise. Thanks for coming this far with us, you amazing man.

Oh we are so "promo" this weekend. LOL.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

God bless your kind heart Astra Nomik. Most of us are a paycheck away from disaster. God bless.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 5 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Hi Micky, I read you stunning hub yesterday, and loved every word of it. What a great writer you are. Thank you for the comments. From what I hear, if most of us were dependent on adsense for that paycheck, then there'd be a lot of starving people seconds away from disaster. But that is just me idly pawing at low dangling fruit from a nearby Google tree.

In the cold light of day, there are lots of people like the woman mentioned above who, as you say in so many words, are close to breaking point. It was pitiful when I wrote it then, it's just as real and pitiful now today. Thank you for the comments, Micky.


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

Astra, very well written. There is a show in America that comes on once in a while about extremely cheap people. It shows people digging through trash and garbage dumps to find food. Then they interview the people and they are actually rich. They just don't to see wasted food! LOL There was a man in town called Tom. He was a straight A student in school, married, had a family. Something snapped inside him. He ran away and became homeless. Tom went to school with my uncles. By the time I was a teenager and working in a retail store, I saw Tom every day picking through garbage cans to find his daily meals. Then in later years when I volunteered with a local fire department, Tom ended up on an ambulance I was working with. After he passed away, more homeless people started appearing on street corners than ever before. The town held a meeting and decided to disban the homeless and move them around because they didn't want anyone to think our town had a homeless population.


Astra Nomik profile image

Astra Nomik 3 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space Author

Wow, what a sad story about Tom. He was obviously down on his luck. And the town moved the poor folks around so as to not give the impression of homeless people being there. That is shame in the extreme. I am amazed to hear of such a thing. Homelessness is everywhere, and even in the UK. I think trying to disguise it from being what it is - is not the way to go. It would surely be better to spend those resources to find work or ways that those people could learn skills and find their way back into the role of contributing to society. They would feel more of a part of things and be more included. There are some charities in the UK trying this approach and it works. There was a TV show recently about a local community doing up old broken and unused homes and fixing them up and re-planting them with homeless people who were getting back to work. One guy had a kid and it reminded me of a Will Smith movie. It had a very nice happy ending. If we make an effort we can do amazing things...

Thank you for reading my hub about poverty. It is a shame and we can still help alleviate it if we work together.


swilliams profile image

swilliams 2 years ago from Arizona

Very well said Astra! You write from your heart. Keep up the thought provoking poetry and articles! Voted up!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working