Friday, November 07, 2008

life in a small town ii

Living in a small city is sometimes a chore and at other times a delight. Take tonight for instance. I phoned the Avon lady to place an order. (Before you judge me too harshly for ordering Avon, I order small amounts infrequently. This Avon lady is so nice I feel obliged to order occasionally to acknowledge her niceness. Thus my order tonight.)

So I phoned up and our conversation roamed over religion, mosquitos, the Koran, airport travel, euthanasia, living sustainably and donating to charity - and that was before we even made it to the order. I confess I slipped into an old habit of offering well timed 'aha's as I cruised around the internet. I don't know how long she we talked for in the end, but it was over half an hour. Somewhere in there I believe we completed the order correctly!

It's like that here. Some of my best friends are shop keepers. If you return to the same homey specialty store over and over again to fulfill the endless requirements for life's little essentials (since I am trying to avoid money hungry corporations I find myself more and more often in these homey stores) quality, personal service comes with a gentle progression of relationship. First all is politely professional. Then a hello with a hint of recognition siddles its way in. This progresses to remembering first names and asking how one is (an exchange no doubt aided by repeatedly seeing a name on the oft presented credit card). The final stage of the cash register friendship is intimate conversation over the fruit and vegetables or meat or carefully selected gift. I have attained this level of relationship with the green grocers, butcher, beautician, Oxfam manager, grain grocer, second hand bookshop proprieter, restauranteur and purveyor of fine gifts. With friends like these, who needs real friends?!

Truly, life on a small island is charmed. Naturally contained by the ever-so-close shores but none-the-less charmed. And this new relationship with the Avon lady? So it skipped a step or two, but really? It makes me chuckle and feel happy to live in a small place where people still care and have time to be friendly. Very friendly.

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At 7:07 pm, November 09, 2008, Blogger Robyn said...

Yay! I'm a bit jealous...its more friendly here than in Newcastle but not quite like that.


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