Her smile suggested that her offer of celebrity, albeit on the local news channel was just too enticing… that I'd not be able to help myself, that I'd immediately say, 'yes of course,' as I tripped over myself trying to get closer to the camera.
I’m sure you know what it’s like, during those moments you are pulled from your own private world and instantly hurled into someone else’s needs. My mind went promptly into somersault mode, trying to find something to get a hold of.
For a mere twenty seconds of celebrity, from the two and three-quarter billion of ordinary living I hope to accomplish during my entire life, I began to wonder if it was worth my already questionable reputation to say exactly what I felt about whatever she might ask?
I’m far more balanced in my opinions on a written page than articulating them at a moments notice, especially with a camera only inches from my nose; so probably not!
‘What’s the question?’ I asked. I sounded keen but really I wasn’t… ‘It’s about the UK supporting America in the fight against ISIS!’ she said enthusiastically. ‘Well,’ I said and smiled back as her colleague hoisted his camera to his shoulder and the sound-man lowered his boom just above my head…
‘I can’t really answer… I’m sorry! I’ve not got much of the story in here,’ I said tapping the side of my head, ‘to base a truthful opinion on!’
When I got back to my computer I began to think more of the consequences had I proffered my view… and that when I hear someone expressing theirs… about anything, what is it really based on, actual fact or on hearsay! Is it their belief, or simply an emotional response they have… with no foundation on any truth or real knowledge.
Do I ask the question… ‘How do you know that?’ Very rarely… or, ‘where did you get that information from, how do you know that’s true?’ Again it’s an uncommon ask from me because it puts our conversation immediately into an awkward place and I don’t like the feeling of that. So I tend to say nothing, just smile and nod as if I agree or change the subject to something I prefer.
But maybe sometimes I should be more daring, ‘are you acting on a guess, your assumption or perception of the facts?’ I should ask. Or, ‘how do you know that’s not someone else’s fiction, where are the facts? Is that opinion just based on your own bias, your own prejudices, intolerance and ignorance!?’
Perhaps that might lose a friend, be too harsh those words, get me a punch on the nose, wipe the smugness from my expression!
But I have found on my journey through life that I prefer those who don't offer wild, unjustified opinions about anything, especially other people… we are all on a journey to somewhere, and we all trip up regularly… it is called life.
I like people who stop and help those who have stumbled, give them a hand up again… especially if it’s moral support, rather than those who just stand and ridicule, deride… so often based solely on their own experiences of others having done the same to them.
We must remember it is our birthright… the privilege of having our own thoughts and we must treat these as our divine gift, to delight in them, give them the respect they deserve, but we must never let someone else do our thinking for us, or influence our thinking without first knowing what the real truth is.
It was just a thought.