Catch yerself on is a favourite phrase of the Irish, it means various things but is a commonly used expression of incredulity at the comments or beliefs of another person – usually someone who is purporting to be superior in some way. And … it’s the phrase I applied to myself whilst I was travelling around the London Underground this afternoon.
The reason for my comment was that I was suddenly aware of judging every one, now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think judging is wrong, in fact we can’t help doing it all the time. It’s human nature and is often what protects when we are out in the ‘wild’ (or in Regent’s Park for that matter). We judge situations, people, timing, events constantly and most of the time we aren’t even aware of it. It’s just that this time I became aware and realised that I was doing it.
This person is a tourist, that person is not British, they are bored, tired, frustrated, happy …. and, guess what when I became aware of what I was doing, I suddenly noticed people who were obviously doing it to me, wondering what I was thinking, or where I was going as they observed my gaze travelling around the carriage.
The thing that got my attention was that my judegement was called into question – and it was only this event that made me aware I was doing it. I was suddenly paying attention to a young woman who was pregnant, who had a young child with her. On hearing her voice, my judgement immediately said ‘ badly educated’ … was what astonishing was the conversation she then proceeded to have with the child who was with her which completely mocked my superiority complex.
This child could not have been more than three years of age and they were discussing ‘modes of transport’ – yes those very words. And the child understood what was being said and was answering in complete and pretty sophisticated sentances. That was the point at which I realised I’d been caught out, that I’d been judgemental and that it had been completely wrong … so the phrase that sprang to mind was indeed one my mother uses often when she wants to bring me down a peg or two …. ‘catch yerself on’!