Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Warm | Cold

Our local high street is so aligned that throughout the day one side is predominantly in the sun, and the other in the shade. And so, because we live in a cool climate, most people by choice walk along the sunny side of the street; only crossing to the noticeably colder side when they have to (and in a hot climate, people will choose to walk along the shady side).

The kinds of shop found on each side of the road reflect this.

On the warm side we find the gift shops and the cafés – businesses that rely on an inviting atmosphere.

On the cold side we find the supermarket, and the takeaways – businesses that rely on the fact that people have to go to them to get what they supply (out of either necessity or convenience).

Gifts shops invite us to give gifts.
That might sound like stating the obvious, but this is a profound invitation, to choose tokens of thanks or appreciation or love; to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries or occasions, or, life.
Gift shops are, themselves, an extravagant gift.

Cafés invite us to make relational time in our day. To press the pause button, and savour the moment, savour company.
The smell of fresh coffee.
The taste of almond croissant.
The tickle of a flake of pastry from your pain au chocolat, left behind on your lip.*
The muted sound of conversations going on around you.
The sight of the world going by as you sit passing time; perhaps another friend to acknowledge with a wave.

Supermarkets dominate provision of a perceived ‘universal need.’
Though there is a growing disquiet over the monopoly that the big chains exert, the ethics involved…a growing rejection, a growing (re)turning to local alternatives.

Takeaways perform a service – in this case, preparing food, and indeed washing up the cooking utensils – on our behalf, so that we don’t have to do it ourselves.

Once upon a time, churches could afford to ‘locate themselves’ on the cold side of the street. Funeral on Friday, wedding on Saturday, 10:30 on Sunday. Today, we need to ‘relocate’ to the warm side.**

*I’m not advocating having two pastries on one visit!
**As it happens, both the local Anglican and the local Methodist church buildings are on the sunny side of the street, in a literal sense. Which is not insignificant, though my point is not primarily literal, and could perhaps be better made use of?

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  1. and where, pray tell, would the lovely Catholic church be loctaed?
    In the dark unused corner?
    ;) Chris

  2. G'day mate!

    As it happens, the Catholic church has a purpose-built new site on a road that comes off the high street at a right-angle, and therefore is most likely sunny on both sides of the street :-)

    But speaking of dark, unused corners, how are things in the world's most isolated state capital?

    lots of love to you and your family.
    me, and mine.

  3. lovely metaphor mate!