And all over the world, the things happen, and the ripples ripple; I am driving home late, past midnight, after a wonderful garden gathering. My eldest son has accepted a job offer in Newfoundland, so he and his fiancé are packing for the coast; people who loved them, gathered to love them more. Surreal, and wonderful to look at a person that you made who has grown to adulthood and makes you goofy proud. Chronos, ends the event, and then kairos brings attention to my lowered fuel guage. I think I’ve got enough to get me home, but then, in the midst of a rough part of town, I see a well-lit, clean Shell station and pull in without hesitation. There are no other vehicles in the bays. I get out, begin filling my tank, and in the process overhear a heated, winding exchange going–well the exchange part is not true. I overhear a young man yelling through the Shell store window at the attendant inside, but don’t hear much coming back. The young man might be all of 22. He appears a little on the rough side, but he’s not exhibiting signs of being intoxicated, just maybe down on his luck. The attendant is of East Indian descent and, as well as I can see, looks younger then the yelling man, and I’m sure, hates, hates, hates his job at that moment.
The young man’s complaint is that he has put money into the air compressor machine, but that the machine failed to start. I look and see a bike parked next to the machine, and understand that the man was trying to pump up his bike tires, there in the middle of that rough part of town, in the dark middle of the night. He wants either his money back, or the attendant to somehow start the machine for him, and here, because we judge, we wonder if the man did in fact put in the funds required, and we wonder for the safety of the attendant should he come out from behind the safety of his counter and glass. We fear for him. I fear for him, but also, I want success for the young man; I want air in his tires.
I consider finding a toonie in my purse so the yelling man can try the machine again, but then a memory of a compact bicycle pump wafts through my head and I try to recall whether or not this pump is still stored in a side bin in the back of my van. I finish filling my tank, then walk back and open the rear door. I find the pump right where that little memory kiss suggested that it might be. I walk toward the young man, still at it with the attendant; “Dude,” I say, and motion with the bike pump in my hand. “Here you go!” It takes him a minute to understand what is happening, but then he accepts the pump from me. “Thanks. I’ll give it back to you in a minute.” I wave him off. “It’s okay. Keep it!” I say. “Are you sure?” he asks. I am almost back to my van by now. “It’s all yours!” He is unsure of what to say. “Well, thanks…and you can wish me a Happy Father’s Day. I have TWO sons!” “Well, Happy Father’s Day,” I say. “And…good luck.”
I don’t so much drive away, as exit the stage; that was a dramatic scene if ever there was one, crafted by an invisible entity to whom I offered my thanks. I did. I thanked God for that opportunity, because that’s what it was for me, an opportunity to serve by diffusing the frustration of both parties. I wasn’t worried at all for my safety, and when was the last time I thought of that bike pump? I can’t tell you, but on that night, that approach apron to Father’s Day, the reality of the pump arrived like so many other synchronicities I have experienced–while ‘chronos’ is time, ‘kairos,’ is the perfect time. Yes, I was grateful. I know, I lost a pump, but the feeling of love I felt for that young man, and for the attendant, was bonkers. I was aware of just how nuts this was, to feel so much love for the other characters in that play. In case you’re wondering, I don’t drink anymore, so my tender feelings were authentic and not influenced by any fertile terroir. Ripples only. Ripples to my two sons, older as I share the tale. Ripples to the young man’s two sons, newer. Ripples to the attendant, unsettled but worthy. Good. All good.