To matter.

Is something we all want.

Wherever, whenever, however – we all want to matter. Be it at work, with a partner, to the world, to an animal…

I was thinking about it this morning in the car. Had an altercation with a stupid female driver that thought she could skip the line and jump right in front of me. Suppose I could have let her, but I’m sorry. If I can stand in the line, then so can you, you stupid cow!! As it is, I had the shivers from pure, unadulterated fury for quite a few minutes afterwards. She did not even look at me!! Just sat in her stupid little car, fiddling with her stupid hair, with this open mouthed, vapid, stupid expression on her face. Kept staring in front of her as if she had absolutely no cares in the world. Fuck, I was furious!!! And I realise the fury does me no good at all. Does not mean I don’t feel it.

To that woman, I did not matter. I don’t matter to many people out there, and there’s no reason why I should. They don’t know me, I don’t know them, our paths probably will never cross again. In saying that though, we share the road. The shops. The garage. Should we not all realise that something small could make a person feel better or worse? Instead of pushing, just wait your turn. Say thanks when somebody gives you a chance. Instead of frowing, smile. Instead of barging through the door, let the other person go first. Hold the door for a woman. Help an old lady with her bags.

And that brought me to thinking about 2 different scenarios. Different times, different places, different times of my life.

And they are in complete opposite of each other.

Scenario 1.

1989. Few months before the birth of my eldest son. We were living in Alberton somewhere at the time. One of the 22 places I lived in during my 10 years of misguided marriage. Husband at home sleeping – worked nightshift. Me, the unwanted, pregnant wife of a very reluctant husband, on the way home from work on some or other highway. No money, very heavily pregnant, driving a Beetle. That got stuck without petrol. I think I sat next to the highway for about an hour before somebody stopped. This was waaay before cellphones. So, the guy stopped, towed me to a garage, and handed me R5 for some petrol. I thank him profusely, and drive home. Get there after my normal time. The reluctant husband is still sleeping. Did not even notice the time passing. No 6th sense told him that the mother of his child, and for that matter, the child, is not where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there. It is now 23 years after the fact. And things in that regard has never changed. That day is engraved in my memory banks, not because I like dwelling on bad things, but because some things just stick around, long after it’s due date.

Scenario 2.

2009. Spring. Times are good. Sun is shining, birds are twittering. I have a spot of spare cash, have not gotten stuck without petrol for quite some time. In actual fact, I’m on my way to a nursery to buy some spring colour for my garden. Cell phones abound, internet is accessable to most people, smartphones are on the rise. Unfortunately, that day, the internet at work was slightly iffy. Resulting in a lot less e mails to my dude. He always kind of teased me about the amount of emails I sent him, since,  in those days, I sent him a good morning, a good afternoon, an update, forwards and a good night ;-). Yes, a lot of e mails!! On this day, however, I could not send him any. What does he do? Send me a mail asking where I am? Just leaving it alone, thankful for the emptyness of the inbox? No. He phoned me. After getting back from work, before going off to the evening meeting of his team, I got a phone call. Because he was actually worried about me. Because, even though the e mails might have been a tad too much, he missed them when they were not there, and he also knew that if everything was allright, he would get his e mails. He expected the e mails, because that’s what I did. I missed him. He was on my mind more often than not. And since I could not see him, e mails had to take the place of me. I can still remember that day as if it was yesterday. For the first time in my entire life, I mattered enough to a person that did not give birth to me to warrant a phone call. For the first time since I entered the world of relationships, I was thought of in a sense other than annoyance or irritation.

It was a good feeling. It was an entirely foreign feeling. 

I mattered. I think I still do, probably always will.

And that’s what’s making the new fishing expedition sort of moot, right from the start. Since I’m not likely to ever find another person to whom I might matter quite as much as the one that I did matter to. Truth be told, do I even want to? All another dude might ever be is a faded replacement. A distant runner up. Is it right to do that to a man? Even if he is a man, he still deserves, mostly I suppose, to be treated as a human 😉

Oh well, time will tell.

Maybe, one day, I will be abducted and taken to Istanbul to live in the shadow of the Blue Mosque, hear the muezzin do their thing every night, eat baklava, drink Turkish Coffee, and be loved. Such stuff dreams are made of…

I was trying to get my seventh-grade history class to understand how the
Indians must have felt when they first encountered the Spanish explorers.
“How would you feel,” I asked, “if someone showed up on your doorstep who
looked very different, spoke a strange language and wore unusual clothes?
Wouldn’t you be a bit scared?”

“Nah,” one boy answered, “I’d just figure it was my sister’s date.”

14 comments on “To matter.

  1. About the lady in the car and about people that we don’t know mattering – it is called CONSIDERATION. There is way too little consideration in this world today. It does not matter if we know or don’t know someone, we can still have manners and be considerate. Do unto others…

  2. I had a similar situation when I was very young, very poor and drove a banged up old mini…and I had a husband who didn’t really care if I was around. Driving around JHB on the freeway I got a puncture, it was rush hour traffic, no cellphones and I was in a state. A really kind man stopped, gave me a new tyre – I had no spare – and sent me on my way. I never took his name, which I am sad about, but what an absolute gem. Not many of them about these days 🙂

    • Not many at all Ruth.
      I’ve been stuck by the side of the road many times since – different kinds of problems, and I have not had any man stop to help me.
      Maybe it’s because I’m not young anymore. Or I don’t look quite as helpless as I did back then 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s