Occasionally, I would speak with one who was trying for a donation and I found that they seemed human enough. It crossed my mind as I looked in their eyes that perhaps the lights are on but no-one's home. Then, I'd wander off and think I'm glad that's not me. Looking back, I can identify that I was a little scared by their apparent devotion and something else. I can't quite think of the right.......cult fodder?
In either case, bring on the Karma or humble pie. Are they one and the same? Here I am, married with children and our first born son has moved out and is now in the company of the Hare Krishnas on some property a couple of hundred kilometers away to the north of Sydney. He still stays in touch and has visited briefly. I didn't ask him where his bong and short purple pipe have gone; they are no longer in the drawer.
My wife and I kind of hope that he'll get into less confusion there than if he stays at home doing nothing and hanging out with total deadbeats. Apparently here, he doesn't feel comfortable and no one speaks to him. That is pretty sad and true to a point. The difference being that he's the one that doesn't speak, who shuts us out and thinks he knows all.
I'm not sure anymore about this mental illness thing though, but I am pretty sure there are some underlying issues that need resolving. At the moment I'll settle for screwed up, nãive and ignorant. He might just learn a few things with this lot; if he has to sing for his supper it may just drive home the fact life isn't a free ride and he has to realise, step up and participate in the pedantic but true facts of life. As his parents we want to help desperately, we just can't.
So, next time you see or engage a Hare on a street corner, spare a thought for a pretty average family whose son might very well be the one you speak with. Life has this great way of biting you on the arse.