As it happens with conversations, they take twists and turns, and suddenly I find myself talking about diversity and difference with Ruby on our way back from an afternoon at the museum. This isn't a topic we talk about a lot, but it's one that Ruby has clearly thought about. She started by saying pretty much what everyone says, "If everyone was the same, it would be so boring," but then she added a Ruby twist, "it would be like every time you came around a corner you'd run into yourself!"
That struck me funny.
I had two thoughts. First I wondered if that actually happened, if I went around a corner and ran into myself, would I like me? I really hoped I would, but can you ever be sure. Being able to see yourself, as external to yourself, would be an odd experience, and maybe not a pleasant one.
The second thought I had was ... oh, my, I think that maybe people do want that. Maybe that's why appeals to people regarding comfort with the familiar and discomfort and fear with the unfamiliar are such politically strong messages right now. Stranger / danger - an abuse prevention strategy that entirely misses the mark, has now morphed into an adult version for those who fear immigration, group homes in their neighbourhoods, changes in laws which expand our legal understanding of diversity.
Do people want to run into themselves and others like themselves around every corner? Ruby clearly stated she'd find that boring. But then she likes diversity and doesn't fear difference.
I do like turning the corner, every now and then, and running into another wheelchair user. I do like the experience of sharing experience with even a passerby.
But not always.
Not every time.
Because, it would get boring after a while. I mean walkers are walkers and always will be but they do add a different look what with their different way of loping down the street. So they eschew the elegant roll ... I'm OK with that. I tolerate their difference well.
So who do you want to meet around the corner?