By Eytan Smith
Last night I ran over to my mates’ flat after work. I grabbed a six-pack along the way and prepared to spill all the dramas that only ever occur in the SCA office. After the initial obligatory ‘bants’ session, I was ashamedly surprised to find how much has happened in their lives since I last saw them; I haven’t been around much.
My news didn’t seem nearly as big as Huw’s promotion, or Paul finally shagging the girl from Uni he’s liked since Freshers’ Week. Yet the conversation dwelt for some time around advertising, particularly around human behaviour. I explained Shekhar Deshpande’s incredible talk. We huddled around a laptop and splashed out music videos, advertisements and comic strips all in search for ‘Human Truths’. The frenzy climaxed when Paul revealed a quote he bookmarked that inspired him:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Truth seems to strike out of the quote, rather than hide away to be searched for.
On the way home, I diagnosed every commuter’s internal struggle.
I witnessed a couple enter the littered carriage and situate separately. The boyfriend, parading his hi-tops and flat-cap tidied the seat next to him, tempting his partner to admit defeat and join him. She on the other hand had other plans, laughed at his gesture and waited with a smirk for him to capitulate and join her flank. I’d normally ignore this miniscule political drama, but tonight my mind was alive, imagining all the power struggles this couple challenges moment to moment.
Next a man who smelt of graphite took the seat next to me. Using my side vision, I read as he typed and retyped a draft email letting his team know they’d have to start again on the website’s graphics. He tumbled through tones, from humble to commanding to conspiratorial.
Then a woman who looked alarmingly like Kizzy, with wild splintered hair dropped herself opposite me. She slipped her elbow along the armrest and instantly pretended to sleep, head on hand. Her face disappeared and all that was left was a fountain of blonde. Reluctant to face the world.
My routine rotates and I’m back in the office. Today, Marc rants. His wrath rains down and my inner ‘adaptive child’ feels like he’s snorted cocaine. The man is right. We all need to bring our A-game but I haven’t. I see backs arching, curled lips and sweeping glances. The others feel the same. We are all fighting a hard battle, so now’s the time to be kind. Now is the time to be the best version of myself: perfect, because I can be.