Thursday, 6 April 2017

Values and Preoccupations.

I was on a station car park this morning when a minibus turned up and started disgorging disabled children aged between about 4 and 8. There were around twelve of them accompanied by five carers, and I watched attentively as each child alighted into a world more hostile to them than it is to me.

There was the little Asian boy who looked around with wide-eyed wonder. There was the freckled, red-headed kid with buck teeth who just wanted to smile at everybody. There was the little girl in a wheelchair who seemed to be finding the whole process a bit wearing on a sensitive nervous system. Her carer was kneeling beside her, cradling her head and stroking her hair until she became calmer. And every carer was totally focused on each child’s individual need.

I admit to having felt a lump rise in my throat. I wondered what I ever found to complain about. I wanted to thank all the carers for making the world a better place, but didn’t because they were too busy concentrating on the children in their care. It was a salutary moment, the sort of thing we all need now and then.

And then I sat down on the train and was immediately joined by two businessmen who talked incessantly of the balance of trade deficit; and how the junction of the A500/A50 gets blocked every morning because of a problem with the traffic lights, especially at ten past seven; and how that place at Doveridge might be a little diamond if they could get it at the right price; and how ‘if you could sell hot air, Scotland would be the richest place on earth because that’s all you ever hear from them.’

I wanted to get up and move, and tell them it was because they were boring the pants off me and I couldn’t shut them out, and how they were irritatingly obsessed with the superficial values of a trivial culture. I didn’t because I was on the inside seat and the journey only took 28 minutes.

And then I wondered how much businessmen earn compared with people who give so much devotion to disabled children. And that gave me something to complain about.

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