A few weeks ago I had a negative experience while out shopping with my daughter. It wasn’t the first, nor will t ever be the last. I wrote this a few hours later:
Today my daughter and I were yet again the victim of terrific grumpiness, scorn and suspicion. I say ‘yet again’ as moments like these seem to happen fairly regularly to us but no where near as much as the loving, generous, happy moments do, so that’s something, at least.
Anyway today while shopping in a famous low-price store, an elderly lady passed us in the aisle and muttered under her breath “stupid child, tutt, look at it jumping about. Stupid people.” she then repeated this, along with a good dose of facial scorn as she passed another elderly lady further down the aisle, tutting once more and rolling her piercing eyes as she moved away.
Now, my six year old daughter was merely checking out the toys on a low shelf and was actually behaving very well compared to her usual excitable self! She’s a naturally bouncy, happy kind of kid, so I do usually have to keep a close eye on her when out and about, not naughty, just a gorgeous ball of positive energy and spirit. But today she was behaving most properly, any scorn directed our way was certainly uncalled for.
Moments like this nearly always occur when I’m dragging myself around soulless shops in search of household necessities and the like. Today’s purchases however included a little wild bird box for the garden as we are currently engrossed in a project to bring the birds back into our garden. This new bird box, for the tiniest of English garden birds will go alongside a cherry tree which is full to bursting with dangling homemade bird cakes and a little glass candle-holder-turned bird bath. Not so soulless, but yes, I suppose still a commodity in essence. My better self would have just made one…
Anyway, by the look of sheer hate in her eyes, I’m sure her comments were not purely based on her annoyance at my bouncy ball of fun, but perhaps a more sinister view of ‘my kind’. Unfortunately, great experience had taught me lots about life in modern Britain and though I am utterly British, with no other place in the world to call home and with no other language to fold around my tongue; I’m a shade of brown. In this lady’s mind, in his angry, grumpy, fed-up-with-life moment – she had quickly evaluated that I’m probably foreign and therefore suspicious and undeserving of her courtesy. Such an unhelpful word, foreign. This may seem a catastrophic assumption on my part but I would suggest that it would be as clear to you too, if only you had my collection of experiences to draw upon. Not that I would wish it on anyone.
Why are modern humans so scornful and full of hate? Why are we so bound by borders and flags and bricks in the ground? When will we, apparently civilised beings realise that we are all one, actually. One brilliant, beautiful race living on one brilliant beautiful planet. Am I too much a romantic? That may be true, however I know that I am right.
I felt a deep sadness for this lady, knowing that at this late stage in her life and with this wary, suspicious, scornful attitude deeply furrowed in her mind she will struggle to ever feel enlightened now, to experience the joy of an open, honest, liberal existence.
We can all strive for this – start now!