The 30 Second People.

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March 29, 2016 by jeliwobble

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On Saturday night, I ‘met’ Jimmy Carr (British comedian). I say ‘met’ because it was more an autograph/photo opportunity at the end of his show, on the way out. I managed to get a brief thank you, handshake, I’m me, this is him, your show was great, thank you, squeeze in, take photo, bye bye, your show was great, very funny, thank you, good luck with the next show. And then posted said photo immediately to social media…look…look…I met a famous person!

I haven’t met very many famous people. The few I have, mostly authors to be honest, the meeting has been as brief as the one described above, but with added book and ‘make it out to Me, please, because I’m the ridiculous fan’. Strangely, these thirty second meetings have had a profound effect on me, often staying in my mind for years afterwards, tending to make me a more earnest fan (though I am not sure that’s wholly possible in some cases). They also occasion the use of the aphorism ‘when I met…’ as if, by dropping the fact one has met them, one has suddenly more weight in what one has to say on the subject of them, when one is actually being a solid boor.

How many 30 second people exist in a celebrity’s life? Hundreds? Thousands? And each individual face, met for 30 seconds, goes on to remember the moment that they met this famous person for years later, but the famous person neither recalls, nor cares most likely, that you did.

Musing on this, as I do, I realised that, in life, almost all of us are 30 second people to almost all the rest of us. The driver you smiled and waved at when they let you out this morning. The kids on the crossing you stopped for. The cashier in the bank you rarely use. The half a dozen people you passed in the street you barely recognised but nodded or said good morning to. Even a Facebook like or one word comment. Each life, touched, sometimes daily, for never more than 30 seconds, may not be affected by just your presence, but by the cumulative presence of the life about them. You are one of hundreds, if not thousands, of 30 second meetings in every individual’s life. Your face may not be remembered, nor your absence felt as a close friend’s would be, but your 30 seconds of being in that moment is the colour and relief of this existence.

Here’s to all our 30 second people. You mean more than you think you do.

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