Things can be different. It all depends how you approach them.
The appalling events in Christchurch last week have moved me to tell the story of something I witnessed several months ago.
Through the doors opening onto the small verandah of our first-floor flat, which overlooks a main road in Christchurch, comes the sound of squealing brakes and then a modest smash of metal on metal.
I hurry onto the verandah to see what has happened, part concerned medic, part being just plain nosey.
It hasn’t sounded too nasty.
One car was pulling out from a parking space; another, travelling at probably a normal speed, has run into the driver-side front wing.
It’s anyone’s guess whose fault it is, but clearly the day is not going well for the two drivers.
Out of each car steps a woman.
I hear no words, but they immediately embrace in a sustained hug.
It is wonderful to behold.
No recriminations. No inspection of the damage. Just a spontaneous connection between two caring human beings.
That they are women is probably significant – I have trouble imagining this occurring between men.