Woman Free Article


With a Covid-restricted Christmas approaching, Polly puts her usual frustrations to one side.

It’s always profoundly irritated me that some people travel through airports with their wheeled suitcases lazily following behind them. As though they are walking a ghost dog. Absolutely no regard for anyone else attempting to navigate their way through the often overly congested corridors and to their gates.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve tripped over some random Samsonite being lackadaisically hauled along; how many times I’ve been cut off by some self-absorbed commuter who seems to have no idea of anyone else within a three metre radius.

“Why didn’t they check it in?” I always think to myself with a very judgy inner voice. “It clearly weighs more than 7kg!”

There is a special place in hell for those people. It’s an airport terminal with constantly delayed flights, no coffee, and absolutely no empty uncomfortable moulded plastic seats.

But this Christmas it will be different, won’t it? It isn’t like that anymore, and will not be like that for some time perhaps. The irritation I feel is no longer with other travellers who lack luggage etiquette. In fact, I’m not irritated at all by anyone in an airport.

As this year rolls on, I find it difficult to feel irritated by anything or anyone. What I feel now is compassion. It isn’t something I’ve been intentionally working on. It just happened.

I feel compassion for those of us stuck in lockdown and who can barely travel down the road, let alone out of town.

I feel compassion for the kids who won’t get home for Christmas; the kids doing an extended OE in countries rife with Covid.

I feel compassion for parents who can’t travel to see their children here in Aotearoa.

I feel compassion for retailers worried they won’t have the Christmas rush they rely on, and the cafés and venues who likewise rely on Christmas parties and work celebrations.

I feel compassion for all of us. Families and friends at war over vaccination.

This year, in my opinion, has no room for silly irritations or hasty judgements.

As Christmas approaches, it’s going to look different. It’s going to feel different. The sun will shine on Christmas Day, or as it always seemed the case to me when growing up in South Auckland, it will be overcast and unbearably muggy. In some form or other we’ll eat ham, have a little too much pav and trifle, and reluctantly pull at Christmas crackers, that will contain dad jokes and a hat always too small for our heads. We’ll complain that someone else got the pretty ring in their cracker, while we got the dumb tiny nail file.

But it will be different. People we love may be missing. People who may have once meandered mindlessly through airports carelessly trailing their bags behind them won’t be at airports, and they won’t get home, and they will be so desperately missed.

We’ll eat ham, have a little too much pav and trifle, and reluctantly pull at Christmas crackers. But it will be different.

I hope that your Christmas brings you only good things. I hope it brings you lengthy emotion-filled Zoom calls from those you love, and a Santa sack full of hope.


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