Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Friday, November 9, 2007

Taking Your Time

Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.

-Denis Waitley


Try, if you can, to come to terms with map reading. Spouse and I have had many a squabble as we are driving about my inaptitude regarding maps. I am not a particularly good navigator, I admit. I am, however, getting better as time goes by and I do recognise the great value in reading a map beforehand and plotting out one's journey, however long the intended distance.
Yesterday my mother decided to drive a friend and herself to visit a work colleague of theirs who was recovering from surgery in which her gall stones were removed. All three women work and live within a twenty mile radius of each other, so the terrain was familiar enough.
The pair set off at a leisurely pace to see the invalid friend, who was reposing carefully at home; they had not had occasion to visit her house before.
After a short time my mother, to her horror, noted that they were becoming more and more lost. Somewhere she had taken a wrong turn and they were now out in the wilds of the countryside, unsure of the best thing to do and with no landmark in sight.
My mother opted for telephoning her colleague; perhaps she might give them some understanding of their location.
After a brief discussion, it was determined that the friend could indeed identify their position but could not for the life of her guide my mother to the main road so that they could find the house. My mother withstands directions as some would take bad news: her mind closes down for the duration, only resuming once the poor soul at the other end says "did you get all that?"
The friend, then, with no obvious alternative, climbed out of bed, sat into her car and went to meet the duo and lead them to her home so that, presumably, they could enquire about her well-being and subsequent recovery from an operation.
She did not grumble and was very kind about it but, oh, what a dreadful situation that could have been avoided by taking a few moments to plan the route.


Another useful tip for organising one's life is a suggestion to eat more slowly. I have found this to be most helpful on many levels.
I prepare food slowly and happily, and I eat it at a snail's pace. It gives me ample time to plan my next steps.
A few years ago while I was at college I went to lunch with a fellow student. This, I must hasten to add, is the very person who I have written about previously, who confounded me about 'hitting it on the 57.'
We had a sufficient time between classes to go out for lunch, and we did just that.
We did not know each other very long at the time.
I believe I mused over that sandwich for an hour and a half. Suddenly, while chewing, I realised with a start that my friend's plate was empty and it occurred to me that we might need to go back to college shortly. I tried to hurry it along as best as I could, but of course it invariably goes unnoticed when a snail speeds up a little.
I was floundering. I was unpolished. Nevertheless, I was inordinately enjoying my meal. It really was delicious.
My friend was looking at me. My mouth was full. I was caught between trying to be punctual and savouring a rare experience of dining out.
Then all of a sudden, with a smile:
"You're very strange."
It was said, however, with a complimentary lean to the tone. I thanked her profusely. We still get along just fine. I suspect you have not lived until somebody remarks that you are strange, however the words may be intended. It is a quite liberating experience and assured me there and then that eating slowly and being yourself is the best thing for one's constitution.

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