We smile as we pass in the street,
An inner recognition when we see
Someone else who belongs with us
That branded mark upon their skin
Or the feathers they wear in tousled hair
They tell us that they’re one of us
A kindred spirit ready to connect.
When I was out running this evening, I passed loads of people walking their dos and out running themselves. I would smile at most of them, even though a lot of them would rather look away and ignore me.
And for that reason, I sometimes get a bit grumpy and in my head I start having arguments with them. I get particularly angry when people are walking in a wonky line while their eyes are glued to their phone screen; or people who take up the whole path with their dog lead so that there is no getting past them without jumping into a hedge.
However, as I was running down the hill, I saw a man in the distance walking towards me. He had a black T-shirt on, and across his chest I could see the Speedo logo in white. I instantly felt the need to wave and smile without even a hint of irritation.
After I’d passed, I realised that my attitude towards this random man was completely different and the only reason seemed to be that he obviously did a sport that I do. He was a member of my tribe.
It just goes to show that although we don’t live in tight knit tribes like we would have thousands of years ago, we do still feel like we belong to certain groups and we like the people in those groups more than others.
I don’t see myself as a very social person, but it’s nice that I have these little invisible alliances that make me feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside even though I can’t explain why.