I was in Dublin in 2009 to see a Springsteen concert. It was only about my twelfth that year so obviously it was important to be near the front. Having queued in brilliant sunshine all day, I went into the stadium and it instantly started raining, and typically I was there in a t-shirt. A woman standing nearby spotted my plight and offered me a spare thick, long sleeved jumper from her bag for which I was very grateful and assured her I'd pass it back after the gig. Unfortunately, at some point during the gig people moved (as they tend to) and I lost sight of the woman. 'Out of sight, out of mind' instantly applied itself to the situation and I completely forgot I was even wearing the thing. It was only when I got back to the hotel that night that I realised I had stolen the woman’s jumper. It is desperately unlikely that the person who lent me said jumper will ever read this, but if you do, thank you, and if you send me your address I will be happy to return the jumper to you. Or I would be, had I not lost it. A random story I know, but acts of kindness came to mind the other day as the post office saga continued (update: although I am happy to report it has now ended).
It started when I nearly cried at work. It was not because I was hit in the head with post again - although I was. This time with a poster tube, and I feel I was too out of the way for it to have been an accident. Nor was it because I had lost the ability to turn my head to the right - although again, this was true. This work lark is pushing my non-existent physical prowess to the limit. Instead, it was food related.
After 6 long hours of pushing your mail around a warehouse (you’re welcome), I was on my 20 minute break. I retreated to the canteen, which is little more than a room with some benches and 3 microwaves into which 100 people cram themselves. With the last scraps of my energy, I microwaved my lunch, waited the painstaking 3 minutes for it to warm up (the microwave is so slow that I believe breathing on the food may be a more effective in the future). I removed the food from the microwave, turned to find a seat, and promptly dropped the entire thing on the floor.
I don’t think there is any single moment in my life, no individual second that can match it for the abject misery I felt. It nearly broke me. However, the fact I am writing this demonstrates that it did not, and I have become stronger and wiser for it. I now bring two tupperware boxes of food in case something happens to the first one. Yes I am serious.
What I would have found fascinating at the time, were I not fighting back the urge to adopt the foetal position, is that it doesn’t matter what age you are, when something like this happens in a communal dining room, the same thing happens. A cohort let out a noise that I can only attempt to spell ‘oooooooeeeeeeewwwwwww’ and everyone else suddenly finds something tremendously important on the table in front of them that demands their undivided attention in an attempt to pretend not to have seen.
Despite the fact that he shall probably never read this, my thanks must go out to the man who approached me as I sat down with my cup of water for lunch and offered me his apple.
See, I still write about food.