Learning

You always have time to pee

You always have time to pee. This is a lesson I have tried to teach my children throughout their young lives (although I usually say “You always have time to do a wee”). Last year I told them two stories, one personal and one that was in the news, about people who didn’t think that they had enough time, and what happened to them.

The news story was the Germanwings plane that crashed in the Alps in March last year. I didn’t follow the story closely as it unfolded but lots of people around me did, and discussed it often. The most relevant part of the story that any of them told me about was this: one of the pilots didn’t think he had time to use the lavatory before the plane took off. He waited until the plane was in the air and then left the cockpit in the sole care of his co-pilot who locked the door and (it appears) deliberately crashed the plane into the mountains. If he had taken an extra two minutes time to go before the plane took off the outcome might have been very different.

The other, personal, tale was from a theatre visit over ten years ago (Simon Russell Beale as Macbeth at the Almeida Theatre, February 2005). Just in front of me, queuing for the Gents at the interval, was a leading politician, a former cabinet minister. The call came over the public address system for us to take our seats because “tonight’s performance will resume in 2 minutes”. In my experience these announcements are always misleading. When they say 3 minutes they mean 7, and when they say 2 minutes you invariably still have 5 minutes, to do what you have to do (and for the theatre to sell more refreshments).

I remained in the queue and did what I had to do. I had time. The former cabinet minister didn’t. Six months later he was dead. I am fully aware of Cause and Effect and appreciate that the two events might not be linked, causally, but even so I use this as an extreme example of what can happen if you don’t give yourself time. You always have time to pee.

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