Over tea, coffee and biscuits half-way through our Nomination Whist session, Avril declares her long-held opinion that nobody is actually born kind.
This is why I love our Nomination Whist Group - we can be guaranteed some fascinating discussions which go far beyond the eternal debate of whether or not it is rude to dunk your biscuit in your hot drink.
Avril’s argument - which does sound, well, sound - is that we are all born with a primeval urge to survive. This does not make for kindness. Most of us are fortunate enough
to be treated with kindness from our earliest days so we effectively learn to be kind. However some unfortunates never learn to be kind, never having known kindness - these are the people who commit unmentionable crimes because kindness is completely alien
to them. Avril helps herself to a shortbread biscuit with an air of satisfaction at a Point Well Argued.
We are discussing kindness because Maree has told
us that instead of giving up a Guilty Pleasure for Lent she has resolved to be kinder. We all look at her in wonder, Maree being just about one of the kindest people we know. Doesn’t she search the aisles of supermarkets for sugar-free biscuits
especially for Mr B, on account of him being diabetic? Even though she must know he can’t resist the sugary varieties. Or perhaps because she knows he can’t resist the sugary varieties. Doesn’t she always have an encouraging word for those
in any kind of difficulty? Doesn’t she save up her spare pennies to add extra weight to the Barnardo’s tin in which we collect everyone’s thirty pence at tea break time? What can she possibly do to demonstrate added kindness?
Maree says she has determined to talk to more people when she travels by bus, on the basis that they may be lonely and would welcome a friendly word. Avril says she can’t think
of anything worse than being forced into conversation, particularly on a bus when you can’t easily escape from a person determined to engage you in an exchange of pleasantries. I have to admit that I am always talking to fellow passengers; nobody round
the card table seems surprised to hear this. I fear I have always been predictable.
Funnily enough, I am not so keen on chatting to fellow passengers on trains
and I am pondering on why this should be so. Perhaps it’s because a bus journey is generally too short, too noisy and too bumpy to do much else except (I) look out of the window or (2) chat to the person sitting next to you. A train journey, on the other
hand, offers Infinite Possibilities.
On Saturday I will be travelling by train to meet up with the Darling Daughters and the three oldest Darling Granddaughters
for our annual Jolly Girls Outing. I will be sure to choose a good book to take along with me and I will really be looking forward to uninterrupted time to devour it on both outward and homeward journeys. If I can manage to fortify myself with a cup of coffee
to sip throughout each journey, so much the better.
Should I happen to see someone I know on the platform while I am waiting for the train’s arrival,
I will be faced with a dilemma. Do I wave at him / her, move along the platform to join him / her, board the train and spend the journey chatting, so giving up my anticipated peace and quiet?
How can I tell, moreover, whether the person in question has, like me, been really looking forward to spending quality time on the train, maybe reading the daily newspaper from cover
to cover - and is looking along the platform at me, willing me not to saunter over?
Ideally we will exchange pleasantries while we wait for our train then, when
it arrives, we will board it alongside each other but take separate seats on either side of the aisle in unspoken agreement. One of us will produce a book, the other a newspaper. We may, or may not, have a cup of coffee to hand. We will smile at each other
across the aisle.