March 8th 2016
Today, as I always do on Tuesday’s, I went to the driving range with my Grandad. Because my Grandad is a creature of habit, every week we leave the house at exactly the same time. 10:55. And because the distance between my house and the driving range doesn’t ever change (duh) we usually get there at pretty much the same time every week.
There’s this stretch of road before the golf course that runs parallel to the dual carriageway. And every week, at just gone 11:10 when we’re driving down that road, there’s a man in a high-vis jacket walking up it, towards us, into oncoming traffic. It’s the same man every week, and every week we comment on him being there. It’s probably been going on for 7 or 8 weeks now.
But today he wasn’t there.
We’d even mentioned him previously in the car ride. “I wonder if our mate will be there today,” I said.
But he wasn’t.
I hope he’s okay.
It’s interesting to consider the consequences of this man not being there today.
We’ve always assumed that he live close and chose to walk to work. So what if he had been fired? What if he’s quit? What if he’s ill?
I don’t know this man at all. The only thing I know about him is that he’s always on that stretch of road on a Tuesday at 11:10 and he owns a high vis jacket. But by him not being there I start to consider all these options and scenarios and possibilities as to why he wasn’t.
Maybe he was running late. Maybe he’s broken his leg. Maybe he’s bought a car and now drives to work.
64 million people in this country, and I know about thirty people in total. All of these lives, and lines, that continue and change and end and our lives don’t intersect. Except in situations like this, where I feel like I know a complete stranger, or when you overhear part of a phone conversation.
Until tomorrow, I hope he’s there next week.