I don’t think I’ve mentioned that sometimes I commute to work by air. It’s about an hours flight to Wellington, our capital city. The regularity of travel depends on what’s going on at work. Sometimes it’s only once or twice a month and other times it’s at least one day a week.
If it sounds like a flash job believe me it’s not.
I had a 7am flight this morning which means I got up at 5am and reached the airport feeling tired, coffee deprived and hungry at about 6.45am. As usual I arrived too late to grab a decent cappuccino and something to eat before boarding. The inevitable queuing for the x-ray machine (and the grumbles when my bangles set off the alarm) was followed this morning by sitting and waiting in the plane while they hold up the departure for some Member of Parliament flying to work for the week.
Anyway, by the time I’m ‘enjoying’ the crappy offerings they call coffee on the plane, I’m usually in full on work mode and doing some reading to prepare for the days meetings. Not today.
I found myself sitting next to a woman in her sixties, who was in NZ from the UK and was on her way to a town north of Wellington to stay with her son and his family who emigrated here a couple of years ago. She was so excited about seeing him and her grandchildren that she could barely sit still. I’ll call her Doreen and she was adorable. She entertained me for the whole flight with stories of her son growing up and why she’s decided to stay put in the UK when her only child and grandchildren have moved to the other side of the planet.
Doreen said she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving the village where she grew up and got married and raised her son and, most importantly I think, where her late husband is buried. She told me that she visited him everyday and a friend had promised to keep up the daily visits while Doreen was away for a month in NZ.
When we landed and I was in a taxi heading to the Wellington office, I reflected on the conversation with Doreen and I felt sad that she was tied, albeit apparently willingly, to a place that kept her from enjoying the living.
Life’s too short.