26 February 2002 the weakness of customs

Today, travelling almost alone in a bus (and enjoying the space and the warmth and the privacy of it) I watched a woman struggling to get a large buggy, and herself, and a perhaps disobedient infant, into the space that is provided for people in wheelchairs (but is used mainly for buggies). She yelled an aggressive command at the infant and I shuddered a little in sympathy (with both of them I suppose).

When the bus approached their stop the woman moved herself and the buggy towards the exit while the child followed at its own pace and, as she passed, said 'bye-bye' to me clearly and gently. She seemed to think it is customary to say goodbye to anyone on a bus...

...how touching is naivety and how weak or defensive do our customs seem when a child breaks them. I love that weakness, and the unconscious strength of ignorance. It's not certain that our customs will forever resist changes - though that is what we imply when we obey them, so dutifully, and command that others obey also... or else!

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© 2002 john chris jones

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