45 minutes. That’s all they were given. For lunch. A quick lunch aiming at providing the teacher with some extra time in order to wrap up the material he was supposed to teach on that day. Because the regulation was clear. The lunch was supposed to be one hour like in the big companies, enterprises, all kind of professional fields. How else could the workers find the energy they had wasted on their chairs behind these big, cold computer screens, so that they could be productive till late in the evening?
So, all classes were supposed to follow the rules of the job market. How could students keep up with the demands of their lessons unless they were provided with the luxury of a relatively comfortable lunch time?
But the time limit concerning the material that was to be covered in this specific class was so tight. The students were happy even for these 45 minutes. They were sure they would make it. Most eating places were within a reasonable walking distance. They would have it together but in a different place. The time limit would be the same for all but the place different depending upon their eating preferences.
The truth is that this kind of ‘togetherness’ hit her as a bit of a strange, unfamiliar thing. She wasn’t used to experiencing differentiation through togetherness.
It seems as if togetherness had been experienced by her up to now as more of an exclusiveness situation rather than a sharing one. And the exact opposite of exclusiveness is the being on your own state. But it all seemed to change now. She had just entered entering a new exciting universe of feeling notions differently. Notions she knew or better said, notions she thought she knew were transforming within this seemingly tight time limit of these preset 45 minutes.
And then it was exactly the moment when it came to her. The relevance of time duration to time value.
You can feel part of a unity even if time is not standing by your side. You can feel lonely even if time is plenty, offering you the numerous chances of getting to know others, familiarizing yourself with your surroundings, socializing. You can feel you even in one moment or lose all about who you are, what you want and how you are called in a wide time range despite the full promising wideness.
Like a shot of a canoe, resting by the shore of the lake in front of your window. It can stay there forever, same and unchanged like the water in the vase of the flowers sitting on the table of your dining room. You have no wish, no motivation to have the water of the vase changed. So it is that the canoe has no motivation of setting sail. 2 seats empty, looking for the ones who were supposed to be its passengers. Two passengers who have been lost in the darkness of the dim, pale January sunlight. Two passengers who are too frightened to travel with no compass. The canoe breathes in and out its abandonment. And time is dragging itself boringly in this ongoing clicking of the ruthless ticking clock.
But when the shape of a potential passenger reflects itself upon the dark blue, silent and sad water of the lake, time suddenly wakes up. It stops running ruthlessly and purposelessly. It grabs its every single minute and it creates its space of life.
Like the space of these 45 minutes when togetherness was experienced in the stubbornness of the familiar solitude among different places. You see, togetherness is not about places after all. Togetherness is all about looking at time the same way. The way that neglects the white horses of the rough sea, the way that crosses the borders of age places, location places and cultural differences or eating differences. Togetherness is about living time in a way that it is always woken up. Therefore valued.
Maria Papamargariti, is a Greek and English Philologist, Substitute Teacher in ISL School (Luxembourg) and Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg. She holds a Bachelor in Greek Language and Literature (Philology) and a Bachelor in English Language and Literature, both from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has published three books in the field of children’s literature, Books publication link. She speaks English, French and Greek. At present, she is completing her Master Studies in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts in the University of Luxembourg.