Coincidences are one of life’s Funky Little Things, aren’t they? Back in the olden days, when blokes in pubs used to argue about who scored what goal in 1968 like their lives depended on it until someone, exasperated, made the journey home to pick up a tattered copy of the 1968 Score! Annual and prove a very drunk and sweary point (“WOOOOAOOOOAHHHH!! I was right, you fucker! Your round!”), coincidences were merely accepted for what they were; two very similar things happening quite separately within a frame of reference.
No biggie. Now, we suspect coincidences to be the result of some Evil Bastard Snooping Overlord sneakily monitoring your activity and listening in to your conversations in order to assimilate it’s content and market you stuff. Which actually isn’t too far away from the truth (although I’ve yet to be convinced that Facebook was listening to my husband have a conversation in the boozer about garden sheds when it threw up shed options in his newsfeed. Yes, we’re at *that* age).
Sometimes, even in this image of digital cynicism, genuine coincidences occur. Take today, for example; in the course of my travels I had to be talked down by a very pleasant, infinitely patient and professional member of the post office staff after he asked a customer not to Vape in the queue and was told “you can’t tell a white man what to do in his own country”. I kid you not, dear reader, I was buying a one-way ticket to Fuckthatcuntupsville until I was soothed into my happy place by the poor staff member who really could do without a hole-faced midget and a racist ginger giant wrestling on his shop floor amongst the hard-backed envelopes.
When I left the post office I was seething. So I went to the supermarket. Call me a lunatic, but I find supermarkets very soothing. Their neatly stacked shelves and uniform labelling appeases my suppressed obsessive nature. I enjoy the repetition and the lack of surprise. Once, my regular supermarket changed its layout unexpectedly and I went into minor meltdown, bouncing off walls like a wind up toy and throwing a stompy wobbler in the middle of an aisle like a stroppy toddler. It fucked my inner balance, man…
Sorry, I’m off again. You can tell I’ve not blogged in a while, eh?
Today my shopping experience was uneventful until I reached the checkout and waited patiently as the customer in front of me finished packing her shopping. Then a beautiful thing happened. At the same time as it dawned on me that the tiny, set-haired lady ahead of me was struggling with her tasks, two staff leapt into action. They gently assisted her with her bags, helped her secure her purse away, soothed her burgeoning panic and made sure that she was safe to head off. The lady was clearly in the early stages of dementia and these lovely, kind people identified it and made sure that she was treated with kindness and dignity.
Bugger, I can feel myself welling up now.
RIGHT, I said to myself. I’ve seen the best and worst of human nature in under half an hour. What shall I do with this information? On balance, I decided to contact Tesco via Twitter and tell them what I’d witnessed, how impressed I was and how lucky they were to have such awesome people working for them. And Tesco responded in a cracking fashion, asking me for full details so that the team members could be acknowledged and rewarded. And bloody right too.
Now, here’s the coincidence part (I’m glad you stuck with me, I usually come good in the end). Later in the day, while I was whinging my period pains away, I happened upon a video of Tim Minchin giving a speech and he said something along the lines of ‘don’t let what you hate define you’.
I thought about that long and hard.
It’s so easy to describe ourselves in the context of what we cannot abide or tolerate, but it’s a far better place to be as a human being to share the things that give us the greatest joy. Over the last few weeks the UK has been awash with negative sentiment, spite and hatred. Much of it for very good reason. But as another bloke in the pub once said to me, “that kind of shit sits inside you. It’ll give you a fucking heart attack if you let it”.
He’s right, you know. Find good, feel it in your heart and share it. Just because one bloke in a pub is a vile arsehole hell bent on making us see the worst in the world, doesn’t mean all of them are.