I knew I would need a lot of courage to get through the day. Diseased rats scurried around my makeshift bed. The pungent, tangy smelly of refuse bags in the roaring sun made me gag. Lying sweaty and filthy on my soggy cardboard “pillow”. I knew that I wasn’t in the best place in my life, but I was determined to get back on my feet and off the streets.
The alleyway I was currently living in was a lot better than the other drug-infested areas that homeless people lived in near me. But it was hardly luxurious. People kindly took it upon themselves to dump their rubbish right beside my “bed”. I’d often return to my alleyway after a day of walking the streets to find a new mountain of waste awaiting my imminent return.
But I can hardly blame them. I was once that boastful, pretentious and dismissive business man. I had it all; the disgustingly expensive tailored and designer suit, the ostentatious and pointless sports car, and of course, the beautiful wife and happy, healthy family. I was in an effervescent bubble of greed and I honestly believe that I got what I deserved. In 2009, at the peak of the recession, my business empire fell down the drain even faster than it had been set up. I lost everything. I went from having a €200,000 a week salary, to nothing. That €200,000 was barely enough per-week to feed my viciously expensive day-to-day lifestyle. Because of this, I have close to no savings left. I was arrogant enough to think that I would never be the guy who’s business collapsed. Most days I have to survive on €5. A hard task for most, a close to impossible task for a former millionaire.
I spend most days sitting outside a bakery on O’Connell Street, begging for spare change. It’s agony sitting outside the bakery watching everyone emerge with their various kinds of divine confectionery. But I find that people who go in to the bakery tend to be more generous, hospitable and charitable than the majority of other patrons. I’m lucky to make enough money...