Faces in the Crowd
Sometimes everyday behaviour makes you proud. Today on my local way I passed the phalanxes of determined mums ushering their youngsters towards their primary school. Like the wildebeest their movements are totally predictable. And why do they do it? Most will cite the danger lurking in the streets, mad drivers, worst paedophiles, the irresponsibility of the children- all lurk like crocodiles in the river ready to devour their offspring to and from school.
But today I saw a blind mother taking her child to school. Now she cannot protect her child, she cannot show him the way, in fact he could if was a bit of a scamp lead her astray. No she must do this existential walk to show that she is a normal mum. Her child is not to be embarrassed by the non appearance of mummy, her child is not to be unrepresented in the parliament of parents which congregates everyday in and around the play ground, her child will have the appearance of normality however symbolic it really is. And of course the mother too is experiencing the fact that she too is performing like any fully sighted mother, in making the twice a day largely religious puligrimage.
Cut to the local swimming pool. Wandsworth is so far advanced that we have a changing village. My friends often wonder when the post office and pub will arrive. However although there are exclusive areas must of the changing areas are shared by the sexes. The other day I saw an old lady about to go into the pool. She was in front of the mirror doing her hair. Why? Because she was going to paddle around with her friends as she does most days an she wanted to look her best. In the pool at nine in the morning. Since many have given up caring how they look at work, in the street or down the pub it made me smile at an older tradition. A tradition that does not dress for convenience but respect.