Watching the clock tick down this afternoon at work was interminable. It reminded of countless begging sessions with grandparents when I was little, when they would promise to take me somewhere, get something, or do something “presently”. Presently was this undetermined, and seeminly infinite quantity of time that only grandparents used or understood.
Needless to say, the end of the day arrived precisely when it should have – not a minute earlier, and not a minute later. I didn’t escape “Woody on Bullseye” fashion as the work day came to an end though – because I wasn’t heading home.
Each summer our children take part in a huge summer activity club in the middle of town called “Lighthouse”. It’s run by an army of helpers, and involves the local churches to provide the children with a week of fun, education, and hopefully constructive thoughts that they might carry with them when they leave. This year’s mayhem was drawing to a close with a family picnic, and I was invited along. It amused me greatly that as I grew closer on my bike, dark clouds congregated in the sky above like the scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Given my absolute lack of belief in any creators wearing bed sheets with long flowing beards and lightning bolts from their fingers, I did wonder for a moment if I might be wrong. Was this The Almighty coming to make an example of me in front of the believers?
It didn’t rain. Well – not much.
I always find it difficult to mix in large groups. After arriving on the field and saying hello to one or two people, I quickly realised that I was surrounded by people I knew. I wandered from family to family, making conversation, and doing my best to defeat a natural propensity to sit quietly in the corner and wonder how long until we could go home.
After faking the social butterfly thing for a couple of hours, drinking several cans of fruit cider, and debating endlessly about the hidden preservatives in a bag of chopped apples, the sky finally fell on our heads and everybody scattered like so many ants. Twenty minutes later we were home.
So – I have two weeks ahead of me filled with nothing. Of course “nothing” is a relative term. We know there will be washing up, tidying up, gardening, ironing, cleaning, and so on. The usual things. There will not be any work though, and I’m kind of relieved about that. Perhaps I’ll find time to read a book or two – or find time to write endless blog posts about very little (no change there then).
Here’s to the days to come, whatever they might bring.