The Irish Medical Times - We need to talk about Conor


In the interest of GDPR, respect for my friend, and fear I might accidentally voice activate a call to said friend (interrupting his busy work day with muffled magic that only the backseat of a Dublin taxi can provide) - I told the driver I had forgotten my friend's last name. He’s my husband's friend, I mumbled as an excuse. 

With an air of disproportionate disappointment, the cabbie slumped back on his steering wheel. 

Humans work best as a tribe (thinking 'we' not 'me'). Most of us listen to music other people make. We watch sports other people play and tense our muscles as they tense theirs. We stress about other people’s reaction to our work presentations, our public speeches, even what we are wearing or how we appear. Most of our daily energy is actually directed to others. 

Perhaps this collective tribe approach is making some of us see differences as unacceptable. Personalising pronouns as an affront to the common good. But the tribe is bigger than a set of established commonalities, we are ever evolving, there is new ground to break and new overlaps to be found. 

My enlightened cab driver clearly had the same thought as he decided to change tact from name to location. 

"Ah, yeah, Conor from the Southside, I know him". 

I reluctantly replied that Conor was a Northsider. 

"Ah, yeah, yeah, from out by Santry way, I know him. Short fella?" 


Silence hung low as we both accepted the deflating defeat. We had no overlap, no person in common. My driver didn’t know Conor, no matter how much he wished he did. All was lost, there was no mutual acquaintance. Our tribes had never grazed on the same ground, we hunted in different packs and gathered different fruit. 

There was no way around this - I was approaching my destination, we slowed to a stop, I unbuckled my belt and leaned forward to say a quiet thank you and goodbye. 

The driver's eyes were darting around with desperation, a single bead of sweat trickled from his grey roots. I could see him mouthing ‘Conor’ in silent anguish. Then it hit him, a way out, an unfettered connection, he broke into a contagious smile and announced. 

"Well, I'll tell you something, Conor DEFINITELY knows me!" 

Delighted with ourselves, I waved my new friend off. Conor definitely didn’t know him, but that didn’t matter, we had cracked open the possibility that our tribes were friendly, ‘Conor’ and himself had been on at least one fictitious bike ride together, this was progress. It didn’t matter if we couldn’t prove it, we could imagine our tribes blending and this could lead to anything - lawnmowers being lent, bowls of sugar exchanged, and kindness shown to someone you don’t normally come across.  

We don’t all know a Conor (well, we probably do) but we do all have commonalities. It can be very hard to recognize a familiarity in someone so directly opposed to what you hold to be true and fair. But we all overlap, we all share a Conor somewhere, somehow, and sometimes you just need to exert a smidgeon of creative thinking to find them. 

For original article read it here 'We need to talk about Conor'