I have been guilty of making assumptions about people, only to discover that they were very different to what I expected. As a younger man, I carried around notions in my mind about the way that males of my complexion and heritage might regarded by other folks. On one occasion I was on my way to an event that I had been invited to by some English women of my mother’s age range. I noticed an immaculately dressed woman who was going in the same direction and felt she was probably going to be high handed and imperious.
It turned out that we were going to the same event. I had been invited by one of my singing teachers. The well turned out lady was an old associate of hers. We were introduced to each other and ended up getting along famously. I cringed internally when I thought of the way I assessed her character before we had a chance to chat.
In a recent conversation about the tweets of a curmudgeon who just happens to be a global household name for his comedic talents, a friend was quick to dismiss him on the basis of where he was educated. This point of view came across to me as simplistic and I tried to unpick some of the issues, through alluding to the fact that Theresa May was introduced to her husband by Benazir Bhutto when they were Oxbridge students. My friend wasn’t in the mood for thorough analytical thinking, so we put the matter to rest.
Nowadays, so many of us are very quick to send out tweets and other online messages. Are we always consciously present when we do so? Our subconscious thoughts are not totally within our control. Is it any wonder that so many of us are dealing with problems arising from “tweet in mouth disease”?
I can’t say I enjoyed being a boarder at school, but one thing I learnt from the experience was about being mindful of personal space. Is there any need to step on anyone else’s toes, when there are other ways to get things done?