It takes time to meet people

First published in Opinion The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

JUST be glad you don’t go shopping last minute on Christmas Eve,” Aaron told me.

“Yeah, I know,“ I said. “I don’t do Christmas.”

“Whereas me, I usually head down as late as possible, and then I have to ring people up from the store to ask them what they want,” he said.

“That is not sensible.”

“Yeah. And the people can be horrible.”

He was right. Although I believe that people, generally, are inspiring; Christmas shopping does seem to bring out the worst in the crowds.

There’s no love in evidence on the frozen aisle of the supermarket, where both grandmas stare at the last frozen turkey, and then at each other, in a pensioner showdown. That turkey ain’t big enough for the both of them.

There’s the hustling at the checkout. The pushing for space in the car park. Much safer to stay indoors, we decided.

I should explain that I was having my conversation with a call centre worker, from Birmingham. I’d sorted out my banking, and we had somehow ended up on a range of unrelated topics.

Aaron likes holidays in Magaluf and told me this year his ambition is to move out of the family home.

“I want a 150 inch flat screen TV,” he added.

“What about a kettle and a toaster?”

“No, they’re boring. I want a holiday too.”

“I’m going to India,” I said.

“It’s going to be loud. You’ll meet lots of people.”

“Yeah, I hope so.”

After a conversation full of unusual insights from my Midlands call handler and me, we finished the call and hung up.

I got to thinking maybe Aaron had brought us to the crux of the problem. When everyone is on holiday we do ‘meet people’, but caught up in the humdrum of everyday life people are too busy to notice everyone around them.

But if you even look up for a second you end up meeting people every single day. Even party-loving Brummies, on the phone, in a call centre

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