a reply to: TrueBrit
I remember not too long ago I made a foolish and dangerous mistake on a train.
I was travelling with the two people who mean more to me than anything. When the train arrived it was not too busy but most carriages were fairly
full. Luckily we managed to find three seats together where we sat and engaged in quiet, casusal conversation about the day, plans for the evening and
life in general. Even as the train moved off it became apparent that things were a little quiet. Then, from the far end of the carriage, someone
started raising their voice in hostile tones obviously offered for all to hear. It wasn't long before the chap stood and started shouting, his words
clearer now it became apparent he was on at a young Chinese lad who happened to be sitting alone, across the isle from where I was. "Go back home...
fekken chink... " alongside other dross one might expect in such a situation.
Intially I looked over to the boy and tried to go some way to reassuring him that he wasn't alone and such behaviour wasn't appreciated. He spoke
only very broken English and was obviously feeling totally alone. As we spoke I waited and waited for those nearer the drunk to tell him to quieten
down but as it went on and it became apparent that no-one else was going to interviene (there were a number of single chaps who one might have
expected to comment) and too that the boy was feeling increasingly both more vulnerable and embarrassed, my frustration grew.
Ultimately, with more anger than sense, I stood up to reply. I was quite aggressive. Fortunately the drunk chap sat down and went silent. I looked
over to the boy and apoligised, he offered a small smile, a nod and a thank you. The embarassed silence from the other occupants of the carriage only
It was at this point I was gifted a lesson: The two I was with engaged in conversation with the chap and the rest of the journey was spent that way.
It became apparent to me that my actions were not only foolish in putting those I loved at risk but it was that offered to him through gentle words of
kindness and friendship which changed the atmosphere and reassured him far more than my actions.
My actions were foolish and dangerous. I had become distracted by volume and let it draw my ire and aim rather than stay focused on what was
important, what was - I believed - the central reason for my involvment.
As can be seen the encounter had a lasting effect upon me.
There are, of course, times when aggression needs to be confronted. Frequently though, just as with those who blindly commited to standing in a
political corner, engaging in hostilities with such people does nothing but encourage an immediate defence and, somewhat perversly, through the very
act of being opposed, lend to the self a sense of worth through nurturing an embattled, besieged sense of righteousness. It seems to me though that
frequently it's far better to act in a way which lends ease, provides an opportunity for people to unite and, who knows, may even inspire others to do
the same rather than be drawn down into the mire. In my experience it usually far more effective to inspire another to action of their own volition
than attempt to impose upon them a course of action with which they have no affinity.
Too often anger and frustration have left me a fool; decieving me, for their own excercise, as to where my efforts should be directed. No doubt they
will do so again but that gentle lesson in focus and compassion has at least left me better prepared to guard against them.
You've been here a long time TrueBrit and I've found it worthwhile to pause and read your words. You have displayed strength enough even to lend to
others - far better it goes to those are in need and who might build upon it.
As to why there may be an increase in behaviour which we may view as disagreeable and even (unwittingly) destructive for all concerned I think, just
as with drug addiction, time has moved so that it's not enough to pay lip-service to such matters in carelessly asking question 'Why?' then sitting
back, ticking the 'effort expended' box and asking for votes in return but rather, if genuine answers are sought, from truly considering and
addressing the bleakness which prompts the answer 'Why not?'.
Take care TrueBrit.