My Kingdom for a chair.
Watching the Remembrance service at Westminster Abbey on TV last night, I got myself into a state; the Queen had to stand for a painfully long time AND walk the length of the church AND climb down several open steps AND remain on her feet to endure the stiff greetings of her prime minister. Of course, she did it all without a grimace. Meanwhile, I was shouting at the TV, ‘why don’t they give her a seat?! Why is she still on her feet?!’ I mean, one of these days she’ll collapse on them and no amount of upper crust stuffiness will be able to overlook it.
I find myself getting a little irritated by people not realising that not everyone can stand around chatting, balancing hot, overly full cups of tea in one hand and a plate in the other. ‘Just round the corner’ is sometimes anything but ‘just’. ‘A wee word’ with a person who desperately needs to sit down is anything but ‘wee’. If you talk to me when I’ve been on my feet too long I’m sorry to say I won’t be taking much in. In my head I’ll be fixating on chairs- soft chairs, hard chairs, ‘just right’ chairs, any kind of Goldilocks chair there is.
Are we tuned in to the needs of those around us? Do we need to speak more clearly or loudly? Do they need to move somewhere warmer? Are they tired of holding the plate of food they just can’t face eating, or are they wishing they could face the queues to get more? Do they just want you to stop whittering on and quit with the questions? Do they need a hug more than anything?
I watched those dour-faced Royals, bishops and politicians and not a single one leant in to discreetly check the Queen was all right. If they’re not even permitted to do that, then shame on the protocol. Maybe she didn’t need any concern. Maybe she actually does have special powers. Maybe she was thinking, ‘it’s the least I can do’. But still.
So, the price I need to pay is, like the Queen, to look away from my needs and think of others. You’ll have to forgive me if I end up sitting on the floor to do it.
But, for pity’s sake, God save the Queen a seat.