Friday, 22 August 2014

The Local Village Shop: Vital, Interesting & Fun.

The blueprint of the modern social media platforms perhaps?

One of my part time jobs is to help those not able to, with maybe driving them to the local doctor's rooms or to visit their friends and of course to do a spot of personal shopping at the local village store. Phoning in your order just isn't the same. We all like to look, see and touch whatever we plan to buy. The best part of it though is spending time with people who are often alone and lonely.

Our village might be tiny, but it is very progressive and I dare say on the cutting edge of taking care of the seniors. A few weeks ago I was talking to a visitor who also happened to be a Neurologist. When I told her about our village and my job, she was amazed because that is what it is all about. Lonely seniors sometimes just need someone to visit them for a cup of coffee and to listen. I love the fact that I am able to do just that.

Anyway, we were on the way back from the doctor's rooms when we stopped at the village shop. It was still early, just after 9 a.m and after helping my friend inside, I took up my wait outside the shop. I know that shopping is a great thrill for her and it takes time. Nobody likes to hurry through a fun activity.

It was rather fun for me to stand at the entrance door ( waiting to help her out again with her heavy basket in tow ) and to watch the happenings. And boy, stuff happens at the local shop. Yesterday was the weekly card game of the slightly older men ( all grey haired ) at the restaurant adjacent to the shop and I saw them all pull up in their different modes of transport: on foot, on a scooter and a few with cars. One of the men usually sees me walking and asked me bluntly, whether I had stopped walking. The last two days have been rushed in the mornings and I haven't walked...it seems people know already.

One by one, the cars pulled up and friends, neighbours or even people I hadn't seen before, went to buy milk, paper and bread. Or was it just an opportunity to collect the latest village news? Everyone returned my cheerful greeting and some stopped to shoot the breeze with me.

A plain old conversation is essential for a happy life. Talking, listening and interacting face to face is one of life's forgotten pleasures. Yes, in today's age of technology, Smartphones and the Internet, the art of an old fashioned chat is slowly dying out. On top of that, most people are so stressed by taking on more work than they can handle ( so they can buy more stuff they don't need ), that they don't have time for even a small chat.

When I finished school, the norm was for everyone to go overseas for a year or two to find themselves and what they want out of life.

Times have changed drastically and maybe the new thing to do after finishing school, is to move to a small village for a year. A year where the teens can re-learn the art of conversation. A conversation without any electronic devices....

Biggi