Today has been a real rollercoaster. I got some pretty great news this morning (which I will reveal when I’m able) and have been pretty excited for most of the day. On the way home from work, to celebrate said news, I stopped off to get some dinner. As I waited for my order, a man came in. He was probably in his early 60s, and was very jovial, sprightly and possibly ever so slightly tipsy. He placed his order, marvelling at the choices on offer to the waitress and exclaiming over the fancy computer ordering system and came and sat down next to me to wait.
After a minute or so, he turned to me and said, “Did you see, they have a fancy computer?! What will they think of next?!”. Then he stood up and looked out the window and said,
“Ah, it’s still raining. Ooh, it’s windy, isn’t it? Horrible weather.”
“Never mind,” he said, “it could be worse, we could be stuck in Egypt, eh?”.
Quite. He sat back down and about 15 seconds later, he said,
“You know what? I did something today I’ve never done in my life.”
“What was that?” I asked, a little bit scared of what he was going to say.
“I bought a MOBILE PHONE! A mobile telephone! Me!”
At this point, he picked up his carrier bag and opened it.
“Want to see it?”
That was clearly rhetorical, it was halfway out the bag already.
“It’s a Nokia!”
He then marvelled at how easy it was and at the price (“£20 and that’s with £10 of money in it as well!”) and told me that O2 coverage was perfect for this neighbourhood. He told me about how phone boxes used to work “in the olden days, you’ll not remember.”
We carried on chatting about his new phone and then both our orders arrived together. We left and we were headed in the same direction, so he accompanied me down the street as far as he was going and kept up a stream of excited chatter about modern technology all the way. When we parted he said,
“Well, you take care now, my friend. God bless,” and off he toddled, away to charge his phone for four hours before no doubt calling everyone he knows to tell them the same story.
It was at this point that I burst into huge, sobbing tears as he reminded me so much of this man:
This is my granddad (and my granny). He died when I was about 10 when he was only 66 and I really miss that I never got to know him as an adult. (My granny died a few years before. )I know for a fact that he’d already be on an iPhone 4 by now and would probably be watching the racing on a giant plasma HD TV. He would have been just like that man I met and I can even imagine him calling up to tell us about some new feature of his iPad or something. I often think about the kind of relationship we’d have if he was still alive and I know it’d be ace. I know he’d be super-interested and proud of me and my brother and his other grandkids, too, whatever we did. Although the man I met on the way home looked nothing like him, he was an almost-identical match, character wise.
Thankfully, it was absolutely pissing rain on the way home, so no-one noticed I was weeping. But I’m glad our paths crossed, as it reminded me of lots of good things. Like the time he microwaved my little cousin’s Popeye socks cos he thought they’d dry quicker and almost set the house on fire and the special whistle he did to call his cats in every night at bed time. We don’t really know much about him – even my dad doesn’t know his whole story. This whole episode has made me more determined than before to research my family tree and put the pieces we have together to learn more about him before it’s too late.