I bumped into Danny in the supermarket, this evening.
“SARASIOBHAN!!!! WHAT.ARE.YOU.DOING.IN.HERE???” he shouted loudly, laughing, phone pressed against his ear.
“Hi Danny!! How you doing???”
“OOOOH!!! Joan is on the phone. She wants to speak to you.”
“Sarasiobhan! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? What are you doing in DANNY’S FLAT?????”
“Hi Joan! No, I’m not in Danny’s flat. We’re in the supermarket…”
“WE’RE IN THE SUPERMARKET. I’M.NOT.IN.DANNY’S.FLAT,” I shouted.
We laughed. Had a chat. Then Danny disappeared.
I’ve done a bit of research about going out in public places. Probably not surprising to you loyal blog followers, given LBs open engagement with all things ‘out of order’ in his book. In one interview early on, a mother of a young learning disabled boy told me she always shopped in Tesco’s with him early on Saturday mornings. I remember thinking to myself “Sensible woman..”
I asked her at the end of the interview to explain why she did the early morning gig. Without hesitation, she explained that her son liked to touch people and say “Hiya”. If the supermarket was busy, people never responded. If it was empty, there was more of a chance someone would say “Hiya” back.
It was a lesson to me in assumptions. One I still use in teaching.
She went on to say that she liked the way in which being out in places like the supermarket, or on the bus, with her son, had reduced her inhibitions. She enjoyed his random behaviour and interactions with other people. It made everyday life more fun and lively. “Oh blimey,” I remember thinking, “You totally lost me there…”
It took a few years, but I’m with her on that now.
Public space can be a dull, colourless, overly ordered, space.
It was good to see you, Danny. And to talk to you on the phone, Joan!