This summer I cashed in all my hard-earned air miles on a trip to Barbados. Obviously the sun and the sea there are fantastic, but it’s also great to experience a completely different way of life. I’ll give you a good example; I was in a doctor’s waiting room out there with my son who had picked up an ear infection from basically spending all his time in the pool and the sea. It was a Saturday morning and there was a handful of people sat waiting patiently…is that where that phrase comes from? How else would a patient wait? If you wait patiently in a doctor’s surgery, do you wait gullibly at Kwik Fit? Anyway, the interesting thing was that every time the entrance door opened and someone new arrived, the person would stand momentarily in the doorway and bid the room a polite “Good morning”. The waiting room in turn all returned the pleasantry. This happened time and again and I tried to imagine this happening back in England. Of course, no way would it happen! A greeting might be seen as an invitation to start a conversation and I don’t want everyone knowing why I need to see the doctor. Doctor’s and dentist waiting rooms, buses, trains, in fact anywhere we are all thrown together, our British reserve kicks in and we avoid eye contact, burying ourselves in last month’s “Good Housekeeping”, a free newspaper or develop an sudden, immense fascination in the tube map, for some reason trying to memorise all the stops along the line.
But social media changes all this. People who would not dare bid you “Good day” while passing on the street are now sharing to the world what they had for dinner, how far they have run, what they can see now, how drunk they got, how cute their kids/pets are, showing their holiday snaps and valuing their self worth on how many likes or follows they get. So before posting 158 photos on Facebook of your child’s walk-on part in her nativity play, I’ll remind you of an incident I saw in a pub once, stood at the bar with my mate watching a poor man being subjected to a couple’s Boots carrier bag full of photos from their recent skiing trip. We gasped as the poor man wilted, shoulders slumping, almost visibly melting in front of our eyes, dissolving into a puddle on the pub floor, as photo wallet after photo wallet was produced and his polite smile and feigned interest ran out. So do remember that to others, your life is rarely as exciting as you think it is yourself. Anyway, if you enjoying reading my blog, please give it a “follow” and tell all your friends to do the same….PLEASE?!?!