The sun was blazing in Glasgow, it’s the last day in June and elsewhere in the world that is the way things should be but it seemed unusual as the Scottish weather like the common spirit had a habit of sticking a finger up at convention.
A quick glance around the platform gave an indication of the confidence that the weather would hold.
No one was carrying a jacket.
It must be a heatwave!
Normally round these parts the weather forecast gets ignored, you look out the window and rain or shine you take a jacket because you can never tell. The only difference is whether the jacket is going to be light or heavy?
That’s how I first spotted her. It’s absolutely sweltering and she is the only person on the unairconditioned train to be wearing a headscarf and jacket, white and pink respectively.
She’s a big girl, sitting across the two seats normally reserved for the elderly and infirm.
As I moved further into the carriage I could hear her speak to the skinny young guy sitting across the aisle.
He’s in his 20s, a typical young Glasgow dude, a bit rough at the edges, but seems genuinely interested in what she has to say.
They seem like new work colleagues travelling together, this is possibly their first conversation outside the office and the first opportunity to speak about more than work.
I stand in the aisle trying not to listen, not making eye contact, eyes looking straight ahead and giving my best indication that I’m not paying them any attention , when in actual fact, you just can’t help it and I’m listening to every word.
Apparently, she’s a recent convert to Islam, fair enough I think, there’s a growing population of various ethnic groups in this multi-cultural city so of course there is going to be cross-over.
People fall in love and cross racial/cultural/ethnic/religious/gender barriers because their love means more to them than the pressures of convention.
Good for them, I think, love conquers all or as John Lennon once said All You Need Is Love.
Do you believe that?
I wish I did, and I do to an extent but a nice house, a lifestyle and a couple of holidays a year are pretty much necessities these days!
You don’t agree .. is that too materialistic for you?
Welcome to the real world.
She’s exuberant about her new religion, telling everyone in the vicinity how much she is enjoying leaning about this other culture that she’s became a part of.
The young dude asks if she has been accepted by everyone.
The pause told me all I needed to know.
But she elaborated, her partners immediate family have been very welcoming, bringing her to their home, teaching her about their culture, but some of his extended family refuse to speak to her and have refused to go to their forthcoming wedding ceremony.
Hasn’t that always been the way?
Two people meet and fall in love, decide that they want to live their life’s together ignoring whatever social norms that surround them, these man-made barriers that really don’t exist when two people are naked to each other in body, mind and spirit.
Glasgow, city of cultures, 100 years ago a young Irish guy came over here to find work and a better living, He met a young lady from Islay, who’s family were less than welcoming to this uncultured rough man with his thick accent which seemed stupid and inferior to them.
Her father refused to come to their wedding but they loved each other and 14, yes I repeat 14 children later, they still loved each other but her family didn’t take part in bringing up their kids.
I wonder who lost out in that battle of wits?
Love or stupidity .. there can only ever be one winner in the long run.
But time and people move on, the world is changing, the life we knew as children is changing as the old barriers are broken.
I’m sure that young lady will have her moment of triumph and tribulations, but at least her future husbands immediate family are welcoming her, her children will be brought up with love and care, they will not have the same barriers of convention that their parents faced, in time they will be free to choose to be with anyone that they want to be with, that can only be a good thing.
I happen to have the same name as that rough Irish man and carry it with pride.
Glasgow, the big melting pot, lets people flourish.
An oldie but goodie so dated but I still like it