During my trip I only saw one person who might have been drunk. But then again, he might have been mentally ill, or both.
I was having a cup of tea at an outdoor table. There were two young women sitting at a table near me. A man sat down next to them. He was obviously living a rough life - his face had deep creases, he had some facial ticks and grimaces, and he looked very sorry for himself. He started to harass the two women for money.
"Have you got a Euro? I need it to get the bus."
They said that they had just run out of cash, in the polite way we do when we don't want to admit that we just don't want to give someone money, whether we think we are morally superior, or just can't see the point, or we're not sure it would help the person, maybe we should give him money, since it is the charitable thing to do, goodness knows we do have it to spare, but once you start, where does it stop, and we don't know this man, but it seems that he might not spend it doing good for himself and what are social services for, this is a socialist country anyway, and can't we just enjoy our cup of tea in peace???
"Oh, come on, just 60 pence. Have you got 60 pence? You must have 60 pence. Or even 50."
"No, sorry." (Won't this man just go away? I'm trying to have a conversation with my friend. Now that I've said no, I can't very well say yes, can I? I have to hold my ground.)
The man had been gradually acting more aggressive in his requests and now he gestured at me, five feet away. "Ask her if she has some money."
"Why don't you ask her yourself?"
"No, you ask her, I don't want to ask her, you ask her."
"Ask her yourself."
He turned to me. "Excuse me,"
I looked him in the eyes, trying to see a person behind the deeply lined, unhappy face. I'm no saint. I was as uncomfortable engaging with this guy as the two women at the next table. I had decided, listening to their interaction, that I didn't think money was what he needed. I didn't know what he needed and I didn't think I could help him with that. But I could stay calm and look him in the eyes.
"You want some money, don't you?"
"No. I'm sorry."
He held my eyes for two long seconds. Then he said, "No, you probably shouldn't give it to me." He got up and wandered off, muttering curses at the two other women.