11:25 am, my watch reads, and I’ve already begun to panic. Reporting time is still five minutes away and I’m pretty sure most of them will make it on time, but I’m so used to panicking five minutes before an event that it’s almost like a reflex now.
This isn’t going to be so hard. A regular visit to the old age home, serve some food, share some stories; nothing we haven’t done before. I’m just worried about the people joining us for the first time, the ones I haven’t met yet. I wonder what they’re going to be like. I wonder if they’re going to stay with us for a long time or if this visit is going to be a one time thing for them. I wonder if I gave them all the instructions correctly. But most of all, I wonder if they’re going to be on time.
I don’t know why, but punctuality is important to me in this organization. And although I tend to fall short of that discipline very often, it still means so much to me.
The volunteers arrive; even the new ones. I’m so relieved. From here, I can focus. But wait…one of them isn’t here yet. One of the new members is still missing. I browse through my phone to check if I sent her the right text message the previous day.
“Tomorrow, we meet at the Little Sisters old age home, Richmond road at 11:30am. You can also google map the place. Nestin Vas”
Yup, that seems to be right. I wonder why she’s not here yet.
I call her and she picks up.
“Where are you?”, I ask.
“I’m lost. I’m on Richmond road but I can’t find the place”, she replies.
“Did you try looking for it on Google maps?”
“I did. But the map shows the place is somewhere in Spain”
“What! Okay, that’s crazy”
“I know, I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“Okay, if you’re on Richmond road, please ask someone for the way to the old age home, and they will guide you.”
“Okay, will be there soon.”
She walks in. “I’m so sorry I’m late”, she says, “there seems to be something wrong with the map on my phone”
Well, fifteen minutes isn’t so bad. Smiling, I greet her, “That’s alright. I’m Nestin Vas by the way”
She just stares back at me. She’s got this completely bewildered expression on her face. It’s almost like I’ve offended her in some way.
“Something wrong?” I ask her.
After a few more moments of silence, she whispers, “Your name is Nestin Vas?”
“Umm, yeah”, I reply.
She looks down at her phone, at her maps –
“I thought that’s what the old age home is called”