However blasé i may sound about walking out in public now, it will be months – or more – before i do so with any real degree of nonchalance.
The world is a very scary place, populated mostly with my own fears, but also occupied by the occasional real horror. Anything from the frowning shop assistant to the scowling bloke who sees fit to toss an insult in my direction.
Why? Whatever i have, its not catching: and i’m hardly out looking to seduce grumpy (overweight) middle-aged guys.
No matter. It is scary, though I hope – looking at me – you’d never know.
Which is why random kindness means so much. In Boots at the weekend (Queensgate, Peterborough, in case you’re wondering) , i was nervously working my way through the No. 7 make-up counter.
No comment, please, from make-up snobs: i’m learning. There was a small but good-natured misunderstanding over the nature of their special offer: but i topped up my purchases with an extra tube of exfoliant and got to go home with my lovely pink goody bag.
i chatted to the girl on the counter: had a civilised conversation about eye shadow and then, as such conversations do, we drifted onto why i was dressed as i was and how scary it was.
“You poor thing”, she exclaimed. Not patronising. Not counterfeit. Just genuine heartfelt kindness.
i almost cried.
Kindness comes from unexpected quarters: but whenever, wherever it is offered, it is always welcome.