(First written November 2018)
Well, whereas one of my previous posts should have come with a BA rating (boobage alert), this one comes with a BTB alert (beware the bias.)
Anyhoo, this post will contain much irony, with splatterings of artistic licensing and a good old dose of bias busting.
It was 5.45 a.m. on a dark and dreary October Saturday. I was standing on the platform of my local train station, waiting for the train to London. Two platforms, north and south. Nobody else. No other passengers. No staff. Nobody. Even in middle class England, I felt a tad unsafe.
Discreetly (why discreetly I have no idea, nobody was there to see!) I texted my husband…
Me: There’s no one else here, I’m a bit scared.
Hubby: Ah, that’s a shame, I’m back in bed.
Me: What will I do if an axe murderer comes up to me?
Hubby: How will you know he’s an axe murderer?
Me: Oh, it’s ok, there’s a little old lady walking up, I’ll be fine. Bye. Love you. Bye. Don’t forget to clean the loo! Bye
Hubby: Ok, but let me know she’s definitely not an axe murderer. (There ensued silence from me, and multiple texts from hubby: hello….are you ok….hello….HELLO…)
Now, please bear in mind, he wasn’t that worried about me ‘cos he didn’t once try and call me or, indeed, charge down to the station on his white stallion to rescue me.
No, he just left it hanging with “oh well, sod yer then, by the way where did you put the life insurance papers?”
So, back to the main story. Said lil ol’ lady walks up. We make eye contact. We smile, say good morning. And Boom! We connect. And this lil ol’ lady turns out to be one of the most inspiring women I’ve had the pleasure of bumping into in a long time. (Hence why I didn’t reply to hubby’s texts for about 3 hours! Oops!)
She was on her way to a review board meeting having not long been back from some charity community work in Africa. She told me about her husband who had passed away and how she’d nursed him through his illness and felt a huge honour to have been able to do so. I told her about my weekend ahead at the One Woman conference, and the work this tribe of women are doing across the world. It truly was a meeting of sister souls. We travelled some way on the underground together and as we hadn’t said and listened to all we wanted by the time I needed to get off, I gave her my phone number.
I look back on this experience with awe and wonder at having met a woman like her. I also feel a bit embarrassed by my initial thoughts of this sweet little old lady I saw walking up the platform. Far from being the stereotypical meek and mild granny who sits in her rocking chair knitting or baking biscuits for her grandchildren; she was this awesome, strong, adventurous, wise woman. And I know that; I work hard each day to not judge people, nor make assumptions about who people are. But in those moments when we don’t feel safe, a little insecure, the old ‘stuff’ has a way of creeping up on us, that good old unconscious bias!
I’m meeting her tomorrow for coffee to continue our conversation. We’re meeting in a car park…in the middle of nowhere…she said to come alone, to tell nobody about our meeting. Oh no, what if? No, she couldn’t be!
Just in case, tomorrow at 10.30, I’ll be at Dorothy’s diner, Westside Lane. Don’t send my husband, he doesn’t give a shit!