There is no such thing as free time.
There are times when your spirit feels free. There are times when you can have fun in places which are not normally fun. Like railway platforms where you have another 90 minutes to wait before boarding your train home. Here I am giving João a step-by-step presentation of a blog I am drafting on a serious matter. You can tell is it is a serious matter by the smile on my face. It takes her mind – and mine – off the length of the wait.
As usual, I am multitasking; I am looking after the large black hat and the bags to my left for a lady who has dragged her husband who has Alzheimers off for a spot of lunch. In the event, she, too, becomes disorientated and sits fascinated by the interaction between João and I, even though she does not understand English. She continues to sit and enjoy the general happiness even though her train comes and goes. About half an hour after her train has left the station, she says to the assembled crowd that she thinks the Inter-City is a little late. No, they say in chorus, it definitely left 30 minutes ago. The lady has to rush off to exchange her tickets and organise new ones for our train, while I watch “the husband”.
Then a man in a striped three-piece suit arrives with his wife, and needs a light for his cheroot. I hand him a lighter. He pegs me for German and says “danke schön”. I delight in referring in Portuguese to the old joke about the sound German trains make: danke schön, bitte schön, danke schön, bitte schön, etc. He is quite happy sucking on his cheroot until his wife asks if João is my mother (which she is not!), and gently admonishes her in her mother-tongue French discreetly. He is clearly losing the battle today, since I understand everything he is saying, and tell his wife it really does not matter.
In that moment, nothing did. I have packed my pages away. Later is good enough.