Michelle Grubb blogs:
I'm starting to wonder. I've found myself watching cute kitten clips and uplifting dog rescue stories on the internet. The US has Trump (depressing, yes, and that's just his hair), the Brits are still banging on about Brexit—the never ending exit from the EU, and Australia still can't manage marriage equality.
Disastrous? Perhaps, but spare a thought for those in countries where your life can end tragically just because of your sexual preference. I have an aversion to cruelty so I can't claim to have watched the clips on Facebook, but I know it's happening. I know different people are targeted daily. I know different people are tortured, tormented, bashed, spat at, sworn at, maimed, and murdered.
I hope we all know it.
Lately, I've been feeling guilty because I don't watch these clips. It's too horrible for me to watch. Then I think how horrible it must be to die that way. To take it one step further, I'm talking about clips on social media. When did posting a person’s death become the thing to do?
I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm sure there's many of us sharing this quandary, and it makes me feel helpless.
I can vote, I can mock Trump and his comb over, and I can encourage marriage equality in Australia, but not everyone is as fortunate.
The one thing we can all do, however, is share compassion and kindness. Some of us are good at this, as long as we know the person or are related to them, but what about strangers?
I walked into our little town this past winter after decorating part of our kitchen. I looked less than attractive. My dogs were with me and, to be honest, they looked scruffy, too. I was waiting outside a coffee shop waiting for my wife when a busker (his name, I found out, is Felix) popped his cup on the footpath right near me and sang the most amazing love song. When people smiled at Felix and dropped coins in his cup, they smiled at me too. Maybe they thought he had a scruffy friend and two dogs to support.
I didn't move away from Felix to ensure I wasn't mistaken for his buddy. I wasn't embarrassed—I needed to hear his voice and listen to the words of his songs.
I am now, and will always be, a Felix fan. We chatted, I dropped all the change we had into his cup, and bid him good evening. I've no doubt, the words of his songs gave me more than my few quid gave him.
I'm not a better person than Felix, I can't write songs like he can, and I sure as hell don't have the bottle to sing in the street.
I've not seen Felix again, but I'll take front row seats if I do.
Smile at someone you wouldn't normally smile at. Maybe they'll pass on your kindness.
Michelle Grubb will be at the Bold Strokes Book Festival, reading from her latest novel, Becoming You.