So. Dickens would have tried to make you weep if he'd seen Crisis in operation.
But there's no time for Mr Popular Sentiment. If you drop your guard and glimpse the enormity, the appalling insolubility of the underlying problem, or if the red rage coshes you from behind, do something constructive. Be a manicurist, make up the numbers for ping pong, unload food supplies, look after a rough sleeper's dog, give someone your undivided attention, sing.
I'm at the West London Day Centre, the Downton Abbey of Crisis. There are tougher gigs.
We all know the chorus. There's no room for cynicism. You'll find camaraderie, instant life stories, jokes, hope.
'Put the date on this picture please. I don't intend to be here next year.'
'How long do you sleep at night? For me it's five foot ten.'
'Do you draw before you go to bed? I do. I draw the curtains.'
A softly spoken guest, courteous and deferential, has a personality change at karaoke time. He knocks out I like the way you move by the Body Rockers. Cue tumultuous applause. Then he goes quietly off to the canteen on his own.
I said unfussy. At this time of year I park all the crap outside - it's a relief, frankly.
It's The Wizard of Oz on TV.
A guest grabs the mike and sings that Boney M song.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
She goes around showing the drawing to people. 'Look at this.'
It is herself.
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