25 August 2014

Of Patience and Provocation

I have never been a very patient man. One of my watch words has been "Lead, follow or get out of my way, but do something." To lead me you have to earn my respect and have some proof that you have succeeded at leading. It has been my downfall in the service when I have had superiors that have been nincompoops, for want of a better expression. Those that know me well will tell you that I can't hide my displeasure at someone else's failings much. If, however, you gain my friendship  you are guaranteed my loyalty and can have the shirt off my back. But then I do not make close friends easily which is why I still have some shirts.

During my circumnavigation I discovered, from I know not where, that I had the patience to cope with the bureaucracy that our colonies have turned into an art form. In the Pacific and Indian Oceans I learnt not to take appointment times too literally. You could consider yourself bloody lucky if they turned up at the appointed time and quite well off if they turned up at any time, on the day in question.

Back in Europe where the pace of life is different, it did not take me long to hate waiting rooms or people being late for appointments. At the present time in my life, without Hanna to restrain me, I am easily provoked if I feel someone has gone too far, or late for an appointment. You can also gain the rough edge of my tongue if you have not gauged my mood correctly and as a consequence step on my toes.

Today was another of those days when I was fit to explode. I had made an appointment with a Gardener to discuss the layout and planting of Hanna's grave. He kept me waiting and after 30 mins I was all set to go to another. In truth he had forgotten all about it. When I eventually got him on his mobile, I bit my tongue off and agreed that I would wait a bit more and in any-case I would go and see the Stonemason in the meantime.

It must have been Hanna's presence that kept me from going for his jugular when he arrived, as it was a full hour and half after our appointed time. In the end we understood each other. He had lost his wife (aged 48) to lung cancer a couple of years ago. From the diagnosis to death was only 4 months in his case. So he was well able to empathise with me and I with him. This helped us and calmed me down, needless to say. We are not bosom buddies and I dare say he will charge me an arm and leg for the work he is to do, but at least we had a pleasant discussion about the work and our grieving, and I can work with him.

The flowers from the funeral are almost all over. One nice circular wicker basket with plants is still doing quite well. Yesterday, being a Sunday (so not a training day) I took a stroll to the grave and cleaned the lantern. Something that needed doing, since I doubt if it has been cleaned in years. this morning on my way by during my bike ride, I changed the candle.

Next week the clearing work will begin and I can place some new flowers there with the money given me by friends and acquaintances.