I had a striking realisation about time and how we.. or ok, I, use or maybe even abuse it, in modern life. Claire and I come from different worlds when it comes to time. My world – arriving last minute somewhere, calculating the latest time we need to leave to be at the airport, trying to fit the most in on a last day of a trip. Claire: just imagine the opposite. It’s fair to say our different views on time have often been a point of contention, compromise and (thankfully) sometimes laughter!
Well last week we had a flight from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur – an evening flight, but being shoe-string savvy travellers, we had booked the cheapest bus, which happened to mean arriving 6 hours early. So cut to 2 hours lounging in the sun outside the airport (to some odd looks!), and a relaxed mooch indoors to use the loo before queuing for check in.
So, I’m queuing for the loo and there’s a mum with a young baby (perhaps 6 months?) strapped to her, crying, whilst Mum negotiates pulling down the changing table and getting things out of her jam-packed changing bag. I am more tuned in to her, probably because one of my close friends just gave birth, to a little girl less than 24 hours before. But also, because we have so much time, it becomes a reality, that I can, actually offer to help her.
And so I do. I hesitated at first, not wanting to patronise or make it look like I think she’s not coping — British reserve and all that! And she’s really grateful – not that I do tons – I help un-strap and later re-strap on the baby – Juliet, (beautiful name) and then we chat, and I try to distract distressed Juliet, whilst Mum changes her. Mum is saying how she feels really in the way, and how it must be horrible for people to queue right next to her baby, and how she just knows Juliet will cry on the plane and disturb people.. I reassure her, and say not to worry at all about other people, and kudos is all to her, for travelling alone with her 6 month old and doing great!
So, Claire; or anybody for that matter, next time you’re keen for me to be earlier for something.. please feel free to remind of the occasion that allowing myself extra time made me a more humane, and more human, being. And this world can certainly do with more of those kind of beings right?!