I used to hate waiting around, being stuck in traffic, etc. But now I have learned to embrace it. Don’t get me wrong, I still would never prefer to be stuck in traffic for 45 minutes or wait for people for over an hour. And I am usually running late, but I have been trying to adapt the same sense of ease with time. In DC I felt like I was always 5 minutes behind while trying to make sure I was at least at places a minimum of 5 minutes before the meeting. Here if I am within ½ hour of the appointment I am at ease.
While waiting around I try to take these opportunities to chat with people and strike up conversations I normally wouldn’t get a chance to have. Yesterday, I thought I was going to briefly pick up some khayameya pieces I had ordered. Instead I had to wait around a bit for them to come from the workshop, but I ended up sitting with the craftsmen’s father. He was such an interesting figure, he was like a walking encyclopedia of the past 55 years of this street. It always so interesting sit with older people who can vividly tell you how things were. He was one of the best tentmakers and showed me a few articles in various magazines and newspapers (national and international). We started talking about his family and how he has made sure each of his 8 children have learned the craft as well as gone to college. I love that sense of dignity in rich handcrafted traditions, to ensure that even though the kids get educated they also keep the tradition. Then I asked him when he started this craft (at 11 years of age, because he had always loved it and learned from his uncle!) and why he no longer does it (he retired a few years ago because of his diminishing eyesight.) He was able to provide me with historical information on his community that I had been researching for the past couple of months and his oral history was an invaluable perspective I couldn’t have found elsewhere.