11/11/13 A stranger is a friend you haven’t met.

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You can almost hear the sing-songy voice saying it, can’t you?

Twee – gorge rising – patronising – arse clenchingly…

Ooh, I’m having a shudder just as I think about it.

How about treating someone as a friend before you meet them?

If a friend is a stranger you haven’t…

So, when I got invited to a fireworks party on Anglesey by the delightful Jez and the lovely LJ – two people I’d never met before – and an offer (which I missed) to potentially get into the Bangor football game for nuffink – enquiries as to what my dietary needs were – an all round arrangement to not just meet them but their friends too…I was delighted.

A friend is a stranger you haven’t met. A friend is someone a friend has told you is just dandy. Clearly here you don’t have to meet them before that positive regard starts pouring forth.

I met LJ and Jez in Bangor’s branch of Asda. They were gathering goodies for the festivities that were about to evolve around me.

In a world where Time to Change report that, although folk with mental ill health are being portrayed in TV dramas they are often seen as victims with violent dispositions towards themselves and others, they express concern that folk with mental maladies are described with less than complementary language.

The thing is – this is real life. This is language that people use.

In a world where we were beginning to think that racism was on the run, we’ve recently found, I think, that language ain’t all that –

The BBC recently found that you were less likely to be let a house in parts of London if you were black – http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24372509

…and far more likely to be stopped and searched and/ or arrested – for example here – http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24372509

When was the last time you heard racist language?

And yet, here it is, alive and well in the UK.

At Jez towers I heard language that may be frowned upon by the Time to Change charity…mad, crazy and so on…

And yet…

…the generosity of spirit – the incredibly PC treatment I received in the company of these friends of friends…and friends of friends of friends…

People with whom I could talk openly and honestly…

Far be it for me to say I’m right…but I am right…

This whole walk a mile thing isn’t about words – it’s about engaging with folk – sharing their stories and experiencing their wonderfully positive attitudes.

And standing in the cold, howling wind trying to light bonfires/ fireworks in that deliciously ‘this is going to work’ British way.

I had a full and proper rest day too, watching a ton of football and generally hanging out, being fed, getting my washing done, drinking Welsh beer, chatting about our lives and what we’re up to…

All this from friends of…well, just friends now…

Did I say if never met these people before?

…and that I’m mental?

…and that I look like a bouncer?

If a friend is a stranger, you’d be hard pushed to find one stranger than me…

Walk a mile

Chris

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This entry was posted in economy, government, hospitality, inequality, kindness, mental health, walking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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