Good evening everyone,
I hope you are all well ... occupied with enough to keep life interesting but not so much to be overwhelmed.
I've been feeling overwhelmed lately. Unfortunately, when I feel that way I grind to a halt. Life is weird like that: when I need to be doing everything, I want to retreat to nothing.
Lucky for me, this afternoon I met someone who brought me back on track.
I was in Tim Horton's. It is a major vice of mine ... and an easy, anonymous retreat where I can sit and read through a book or notes. I was reading meeting notes when ...
"You've got a lot of paper there! Are you taking a course?"
This question came from the young man who had been sitting two tables away, talking on the phone. He was on his way out. It's unusual for a guy of twenty or so to speak to a woman my age, so I really felt that long two seconds of "Is he being sarcastic?" crossing my brain. And I replied: "No, I'm reading through the notes from a meeting I was at this morning. London has a new food charter and we're trying to decide what projects we want to tell people about first."
He stopped at my table. "A food charter?"
"Yes, it's a statement by a lot of organizations in London and even the City that says basically that everyone should be able to get healthy food every day. There's a lot of other stuff too, but that's the really important part."
He was nodding agreement. "You have to have a lot of money to eat healthy."
It was my turn to nod.
"It's like ... when you go to the store and there's something good on for $3.00 but it's not a lot and then the peanut butter is $2.00 and you buy the peanut butter because there's more ... but it's got a lot of oil in it."
"Maybe confectioners sugar too," I added. "The 'just peanuts' stuff costs more."
He was still nodding his head. "Not everyone can afford the healthy stuff."
"No, and companies like to sell stuff that's already made up so people don't have to cook and it always costs more when though there's extra chemicals and stuff in it."
"And it's cheap and fast. They want you to buy that." he added. "But it's not that good for you. The companies make a lot of money on it ... you know, the refined stuff. And when you get older you can get sick because you didn't eat the right stuff."
"Yes," said I. "There are a lot of companies making a lot of money ... and people can't afford the better food - the real stuff you have to make yourself. At the food charter group, we've talked about other things like how if people don't have enough money to buy the good food there need to be changes so that people get better wages at their jobs ..."
"A lot of jobs don't pay much," he put in. This gets really big. There's a lot of things that are mixed up together."
"Yes," I said. "It gets really complicated and I feel confused sometimes."
"But you're working with other people to make this food charter so more people have good food? Then that's good. You all help each other."
A little light went on for me. "Yes, we do. And some of them really know a lot. There are people in this group from groups that work with children, and health organizations, and there's a university teacher, and someone from the food bank and one of the City departments that works with people who have low incomes. And ... yeah, they're good people."
"I'm really glad to meet you. My name's Andrew."
And he reached out and we shook hands as I told him my name.
"I'm really glad you spoke to me," I said. "Thank you."
"I really like to talk to people," Andrew said. "Well, I gotta go. You take care."
And he headed off ... to work or home or maybe a date or a friend's place.
After he left, I just sat for a minute before I packed up all the papers, to head home. I felt pretty good.
Thanks Andrew. You made my day.
Best wishes to all of you reading.