There’s an old lady about to board my train. I make way for her and who I think may be her carer or befriender of sorts.
How wrong I was. How utterly presumptuous and ignorant.
The ladies are so different.
The old lady has a lovely posh accent, one that rattles ever so slightly as she speaks. Her friend is at least 30 years younger than her, has a middle eastern accent, wears a head scarf and it seems is being shown around London by the little old lady. Who, by the way has just drawn a map on a piece of paper of the route they took and the one they’re on.
Tomorrow they will visit to a local museum which the little old lady will do a tour of. She’s giving directions on how to get about this local area. She is the font of all knowledge to living around here – pouring information on to her friend, who is bottling this knowledge for when she needs it.
The conversation is tender and real; fun and informative; and encapsulates them both in moments that my misinformed mind never thought would happen.
Today, this gives me hope.
There are many things I see and read that reminds me that we are fighting divides. When you don’t look the same, speak the same and don’t live in similar bubbles there are whole sections of society that will disregard you because of this difference. There maybe explicit hate or violence, indirect discrimination or an uneasy growing rhetoric that you don’t belong.
The Barcelona attacks, the Virginia riots, the London ambushes and world-wide wars are reminders that this type of divisive hatred exists. No matter how far they are from us physically, somehow they feel close. They feel like attacks on human-kind – my human-kind. The kind that have been typecast into roles that only a minority belong.
Listening to this unlikely friendship, chatter on matters of local relevance, appointments and family – punctuated by touch and giggles – made me remember that hatred isn’t everywhere.
I believe people are inherently good. This has reminded me to keep be open minded to the unlikely opportunities that can come from this.
In difference, there lies similarity and humanity. I love that.