Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's Due to Age

Never in my 44 years has this ever happened before. I was rushing to get home to a very active 3 year old and a sick wife awaiting respite. Stopping at the supermarket to pick-up some bread and milk, I whizzed around and also filled the trolley with herbal cold tablets, some powdered lemon stuff laced with paracetamol, chocolate chip cookies and hand sanitiser to ward off the H1 N1 virus. “Did I have everything?’ I thought to myself. Yes, I was sure.

Into the ‘400 items or less’ check-out lane, I quickly moved up the queue, scanned my booty, only to discover my EFTPOS card missing from my wallet. How so??? It’s always there! Had my wallet been raided? When did I use it last? Did my wife inadvertently ‘borrow’ it? Not that it mattered. The steam building under the collars of those behind me was starting to vent. The check-out chick found something interesting to look at on the ceiling as I checked all the obvious and hidden compartments in my wallet. “This is so embarrassing” I laughed unconvincingly. I didn’t have enough cash to pay, but finally discovered a rarely used VISA card lurking between my football club membership card and some useless loyalty card that is a waste of space. I swiped it with anticipation…I couldn’t even remember paying any money off that card. Perhaps it has been cancelled and the sheriff hasn’t caught up with me yet. Will the store’s security screens slam shut? Will the Tactical Response Group raid the place and have me facedown in the aisle, limbs akimbo? Nope. Card accepted. I quickly left and continued home.

Such focused attention on personal failure is as intense as a pinprick. I remember helping an elderly woman at a newsagent when she found herself short 20 cents to pay for her lotto ticket. I handed the sales clerk the money, quite disgusted that the clerk wouldn’t forego the payment in the first place as a gesture of understanding the lady’s predicament. Rather, the clerk allowed the poor woman to suffer the embarrassment for that short period before I interceded.

Ultimately though, it’s but a tiny piece of our lives taking place in a huge world. Today an Air France jet with more than 200 passengers was lost over the Atlantic. There are pictures of despair on the faces of people awaiting news in Charles de Gaulle and in Rio. The news will be bad.

Perspective is everything. Never lose it.