Friday, 13 December 2013

Sense and sensibility

Some phone calls are just to send a quick message, some for a long needed chat, and then there are others that manage to reconfirm your faith in humanity. Just some times in this world, along comes someone that makes your day just seem a bit brighter for doing what would usually be considered common sense.

Unfortunately these days common sense is rather low on the ground, and it is quite usual for people to expect practical miracles on the understanding that technology has made us all twenty-four-hour people. The lack of humanity in this technological world has often been discussed on these pages, the way that we treat each other and the way we interact could be seen to be ever increasingly remote and superficial.

So in this landscape Spain once again came to the rescue by being particularly Spanish about things.

There's a song that we used to sing at school called 'magic penny'; the lyrics are 'love's just like a magic penny/hold it tight and you won't get any/ lend it, spend it and you'll have so many/ you'll roll all over the floor'. Anyone reading this that went to Solent First school in the eighties is probably now humming along as they read; remembering assembly and the dance that went with it. This simple song with a basic message has always been something held close, something to believe in and perhaps a pretty message that most would now find quite vacuous, something that couldn't possibly be true these days. Except here.

Years ago I had a student that was studying law and was trying to pass some public exams to work for the state. A very bright young lady, always cheerful and not afraid of working. The thing was that she, and I at the time, had quite an irregular timetable. I was already working a lot and didn't have much extra time to do very much at all, but I took her on as she had been sent to me through another friend and it wasn't going to be for long anyway.

I taught her for as long as we could both arrange our timetables, and then lost contact with her when we moved to Arg├ęs. The odd facebook message was about as far as anything went for a substantial time. Until a month ago.

She sent me a message saying that a friend of hers needed some translations doing, work for an NGO, being an appreciated student I offered to help out. The work has proven to be an awful lot of work, very rewarding, but still a lot of work, and we have had a deadline hanging over us, and the feeling of dread and having to let people down as it was all approaching was tangible. Until today.

I decided to bite the bullet and have a chat with the lady running it all, just to let her know that we were running behind schedule and that we wouldn't be able to get everything in on time. 

In a move to reaffirm faith in even the most embittered human being she said that the time limit wasn't the most important thing, rather the quality of the work we were doing. She said that as the work is quite sensitive, that it was more important for the good of those involved that the work was of the highest quality, not rushed, not done shoddily, but done properly.

The better you are to people, the more honest, the more decent, the more open, the better you are treated. The magic penny has been well and truly spent, and returned with interest. Thank you once again Spain for being you.