It was that voucher from McDonalds that did it. I needed to give a lift to the station for the commuter train. Before I knew it, I was back following a repeat if newer version of what had been so familiar when I was at work.
So the journey to the station was a return but also different. When I used to leave for work at 06.00, I was too focused to see the lady who was out jogging in her sports gear. I probably would also not have seen the other lady who was dressed for work and standing patiently at the bus stop.
It was impressive to see the young army recruit with his heavy back pack doing the training for the fitness test for one of those prestige units. Having seen the various articles and programmes on the physical and mental injuries that some have sustained on active service, I just hope that he will be one of the lucky ones.
Then at the traffic lights there was the chap on his bike and pushing to the front of the line and ready for the off once the light goes green. I fully understood as the timings to catch that train are very tight or the delay to the next one messes up the whole day. Just hope that one day, he does not end up 10 years too early for the sake of being 10 minutes late.
I looked out for the chap who sells the Big Issue at his normal site opposite the banks. He’d not arrived yet and I’ve often wondered whether it was the last recession that lead him to be homeless in the first place.
There just ahead of me was the McDonald. Although still before 7, I went in and the staff were smartly dressed and ready to greet me with a happy smile. They must have got up 1-2 hours before and it is worth thinking about that when we, as a commuter, get grumpy at the early starts. Perhaps it was the sunny morning that helped.
The restaurant was a complete summary of the working groups around our town. There were several white vans with their drivers with the regulation pair of shorts for summer worn come rain or shine. They also had the regulation short sleeve tops- often showing the stains of the paint, cement, adhesives relevant to their jobs.
Then there were the carers in their coloured tunics and white nursing trousers. Here they were getting that quick pick me up breakfast snack and coffee before going off to help their clients. Surprising to think that even though now needing care those same people did these same roles when this group of carers were children. A clear case of the circle of life.
And then there was the chap in a shirt and tie pacing about outside before coming in for his coffee. Not sure if he was one of the managers at the nearby supermarkets which were already open and serving those popping in quickly to get their take away lunch for the day at the office.
One had to admire one person who was trying to burn off the calories and keep fit by cycling to the McDonalds. There was one point that he had over looked however, and that was his clothing. No MAMIL here (middle aged man in lycra) instead the jeans were a little baggy, perhaps to reflect the weight he’d lost or a desire to have good airflow- suffice to say I did see rather more of him than one might have wanted.
And the point to all of this- we can be self centred and convinced that ones own occupation is only crucial one. A few moments reflection on the people I saw that morning however shows that they all have a role in helping the community function. After all I cannot write this blog if there is no web service, no electricity, food or water and sewerage services.
So now, when I’m asked what I do every day, I say I support the community by being a consumer. This gives me a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to have reached this stage. If feel a need to justify then, I say I am studying to be like David Attenborough and studying the various groups that together make up our local human species. Enjoy your retirement.