I sometimes cycle home past a row of very mean little houses which sit permanently in the shadow of a large apartment complex. There are no signs of incipient yuppification on this terrace. No bay trees clipped into circles, no plain white blinds and repointed brickwork. No, there are sad little bits of grass with terrifyingly ugly garden ornaments overlooked by elaborately patterned net curtains. One day, I saw a young woman sitting on a bench in a front garden. She looked dreadful. Skinny, sickly white, dirty, listless and trembling. She was clearly coming off something and she wasn’t enjoying it. She personified in her skinny person the misery associated with drug addiction in the poorer parts of Dublin and there was something scary about her.
How did I feel when I saw her waiting to pick up her child outside my children’s shool? Not very happy at all.