More by accident than by any conscious design, I've spent most of my life straddling.
An Englishman living in America. An agnostic raised in the Church of England, marrying first into a deeply Catholic family, secondly into a deeply Jewish.
A college educated medical scientist with several years spent scrabbling in the dust and flame of a steel foundry.
The grandchild of the accounting director of Shell Oil and the managing director of a building society, living on a modest lower middle class melting pot street in an untidy house with two cars each with over 180,000 miles on the clock.
I've associated with the very wealthy and the highly educated and with their complete opposites.
I belong absolutely to none of these worlds. Yet, I feel an empathy for all of them. I've met thoughtful and fascinating individuals and I've met jerks. But I could not predict by their origins just what their true quality would be.
What has all this taught me?
Simple truths. People are more similar than dissimilar. Most of our preconceptions about any group have only a grain of truth and a bushel of falsehoods. Character counts for far more than background or belief.
I've enjoyed my walk along the ridge. I can slide into any of these worlds, yet I always know I can scramble up the slope again. It's been an adventure, a sometimes painful and difficult adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. I don't think I could ask more from life.