Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

Spelling boobies.

I used to laugh a lot at the stark contrast between human behaviour back home in the north of England and life in London. The best way I can sum it up is that if you collapsed and started foaming at the mouth up north, the whole street would come out to comfort you, tea would be made and dished out, and your recovery would be deemed ‘heroic’ in the local paper.

In London you’d be cursed for fitting during rush hour, trampled by commuting wildebeest in suits and pencil skirts, and blamed for costing someone £3.85 whilst your skin blistered from the scolding coffee they just spilled on you.

It’s an easy box to put Londoners in and one that most people who live in the capital have fallen into, perhaps unwittingly, at one time or another.

But if you were ever in any doubt about the existence of common decency or the potential for human kindness in the Big Smoke then read on.

This morning my phone rang while I was on the bus. A ‘blocked’ number, which always makes me nervous. The anxiety soon turned to dark humour, however, as a call centre worker from the Child Benefit Office suggested that I should have made contact with her rather than the other way round, and that I should have done it in November.

‘Yeah,’ I thought, ‘I had nothing else on my mind back then. What was I thinking?’

Yet I remained polite. I answered all of her questions, thanked her for calling and went back to my journey to work.

But I quickly became aware that there was no way that the people sitting around me didn’t hear what I had to say. That I was 33, that I was widowed in November and that my child was only two-years-old when it happened. I’d spoken quietly but that often makes people listen with more intent.

The chap sitting next to me has doubtless stepped over a fitting train passenger or growled at someone for spilling a little cappuccino foam on his expensive suit. But this morning his typical London temperament was cooled. So much so that when he got off the bus a couple of stops before me he passed me his mobile phone. He could see I had my headphones in and perhaps didn’t feel so comfortably actually talking to a stranger.

Not having experienced anyone quietly sneaking me a gadget at the back of the bus since an old school friend spelled out ‘BOOBIES’ in numbers on his calculator when I was nine, I was unsure what was happening.

‘Have a good day and good luck’.

And that’s all he wanted to say.

Seven little words that say so much more about humanity than the sum of their parts.

 

This is syndicated content from Life as a widower

Content reproduced with the kind permission of Benjamin Brooks-Dutton

 

 

 

Related entries

Board Games

Board Games

I used to play snakes and ladders with my family when I was a child. Being the youngest of three boys, it was one of the few games that levelled us all out. Winning tactics couldn’t really be deployed and experience mattered little in determining the final result... I...

tell them

tell them

The eighty-five-year-old driver who killed my wife, Desreen, was jailed just before Christmas for eighteen months for causing her death by dangerous driving. He was also banned from driving for life. I suspect he, his family and friends are feeling really quite...

los muertos

los muertos

“Life can be really tough for the living.” – Mary Beth, The Book of Life It was Halloween this week and as I tucked Jackson up in bed late that night I realised that, of the two of us, I was the one that had spent the day scared. In fact these days I spend a lot of my...

Latest entries

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a parent of a 10 year old who is rapidly approaching the age where he will be getting his own phone, I’m concerned about ensuring he isn’t exposed to a cavalcade of disturbing things online. I’m worrying about bullying, about him being contacted or making friends...

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

The Olympics have started! Despite a lack of fans (crowd noise will be piped into the stadiums instead) the event is still as important as ever and makes for great summer viewing. So at Dad.Info we have rounded up 21 interesting facts about Japan to both liberally...

How To Have A Holiday At Home

How To Have A Holiday At Home

If you’re anything like me and flip flopped about for ages, unsure what to do about booking a summer holiday this year amid constantly- changing Covid news, then you’ll be finding yourself at home for the summer. But while we may not be able to dip our toes in the...

Pin It on Pinterest