Forty Minutes on a Bench

I jumped on my Honda 100cc this morning to run a bunch of errands. At the end of our street, I turned right and scooted up past the bus stop where I saw an elderly Chinese couple waiting for the 104 to arrive and take them downtown. I frequently see this couple sitting there – perhaps they do it everyday – and I’ve often wondered why they don’t have their own transportation, but I guess you do what you must. I always thought how horrible it must be to have to wait for a bus each day.

So I buzzed around frantically trying to get everything done – the bank – the post office (to mail a book to a Goodreads winner!) – the wet market (to get some meat, vegetables and fruit for the week) – and then headed home about 40 minutes later.

As I approached my street, the couple was still sitting on the benches, placidly staring at the passing traffic, probably fuming about their length of wait for the tardy bus – or at least that’s how I would have been thinking.

I acknowledged in my mind that I felt sorry them. What a waste of time!

And then it hit me. Perhaps they often see me buzzing past them, running errands and heading home always in a rush. Maybe they were actually feeling sorry for me.

Hmmm. Let’s compare the two. I had to get these errands done in a short amount of time so I could get home, shower, and head off to pick up my daughter from downtown, and then, and then, and then …

This couple had forty minutes of sitting and chatting, not worrying about anything. Perhaps observing people. Perhaps enjoying the refreshing, morning tropical air. Perhaps recalling their family, and the kids they raised, and the memories that they had created. Perhaps just enjoying the silence, happy to have a partner for the wait.

I suddenly longed for forty minutes on a bench, waiting for a bus.

Perhaps its time to sell my motorbike.


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