With not very much planned for the bank holiday at the beginning of the week, I’ve found myself busy meeting people and seeing parts of Londres I don’t usually see. I even enjoyed doorstepping for the Opposition. Now all I need is for this humidity to end.
Yesterday on the way for a drink I was approaching a nearby district when I saw a column of smoke ahead of me. It lent an air of apocalypse to the warm evening. I was reminded of the Londres riots of five years ago. I had been here too then, in exactly that spot, watching crowds breaking into shops, and police sweeping down roads with dogs. For a moment I wondered if we were seeing new riots, but there was no restlessness in the air, no air of desperation. It turned out to be a burning scooter abandoned in the middle of the road. I edged around it and went on, passing a fire engine a few minutes later. I noted some slight sense of disappointment. It’s not that riots are a way forward, but dissatisfaction that intense feels like it could drive change.
The evening was one of convivial drinking and getting to know a new resident of Londres. I left with a good feeling, a new connection made, and lay in until midday. It has been a weekend of conversation and I am happy to have a quieter day today. I love talking with people but after many hours of it I feel the edges of myself slipping, the need to sit quietly for a while, re-establish some inner calm. Perhaps I should let those edges slip a little more, but I’m not sure that it would make for a better me.
A thought from the weekend: one of my worst sides, to see people as better or worse than me, seems to be abating. Some time ago I recognised this tendency that I had, exacerbated by a society that thinks competitively, to unconsciously rank people as good or bad, better or worse. That framework is driven by fear I think, mostly of losing what you have, but also of being made to suffer unnecessarily. Those fears aren’t entirely unreasonable, but it’s no good having them in the driving seat.