I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately, and how important it is to me when random strangers are lovely, just out of the blue. I wonder if they realise that the nice smile is something I remember. Then there was that nice women who asked about my book as I mumbled to myself, trying to decipher the shopping list underneath the book notes I’d scribbled in the vegetable aisle when The Perfect Idea was presented to me by the beetroot. I do remember. Not for ever in every case, but certainly for the rest of the day and sometimes for ever. Yes, sometimes it is for ever.
I remember the kind man in the Southend-on-Sea parking lot who explained how to use the meter to me when I was being dyspraxic and soaked to the bone in a driving storm. I remember the nice archivist at the National Archives who thanked me for going back to my table and finding my return slip in my notes when I forgot to bring it with the files to return. I remember the annoying child in the supermarket turning out to be a gem: running over to bring me The Critical Birthday Dinner Ingredient I’d dropped off the side of the trolley without realising it as the wonky wheels bullied me across the parking lot. (I can’t be the only person in the world who thinks trolleys are the most disagreeable of all inanimate objects.)
When you’re having a rotten day, especially if it’s part of a pattern, a very little kindness can go a long and lasting way. So thank you to all the people who have been kind to me, especially in the little ways.