I’m someone who likes change. I enjoy variety in my food, in my work outs, in the music I listen to, the roads I take to different places, in my wardrobe, where I vacation, even what I choose to write about. Why then, was it such a blow to receive the news that the pet store that has been in town for 20 years (exactly as long as I have!) is closing its doors at the end of the month?
It is not just that I like to support small family run businesses, although that, too, is true. It is not simply that they carry the type of dog and cat food that our animals consume, or that they have the best greeting cards around. Certainly, it is not the $10 I save when I fill my punch card, and clearly I will be able to find pet products elsewhere.
But will I find the same friendliness, the willingness to listen to my latest lament about our most recent contact with the emergency vet, or the triumph of coming through what appeared to be the demise but turned into the recovery of our feline super pet? Will the next place offer to carry the 50 pounds of Black Oil birdseed, but be willing to let me carry 40 pounds of dog food if I state that it is my preference? I suppose they will be willing to dispense advice about cat litter, thunder shirts, and the difference between having hamsters or gerbils as pets.
What I have come to realize is that as important a role as variety plays in my everyday life, when it comes to people, it is the continuity and the relationships that I value. I love going to MY bank, MY salon and MY supermarket. To be fair, I do sometimes mix it up in the banking and shopping departments, but still there is home base.
I understand the reasoning, although that, too, makes me unhappy. That larger chains are pushing out the smaller, more personal stores makes me most displeased. Price and efficiency do not hold a candle to personal relationship.
Even the characters who everyone knew about town, walking the streets in all weather, even those people held a place in my heart. Though I had no direct interaction with them, I mourned their passing, because they were our neighbors, our fellow travelers on the block, a part of daily living.
It is a combination of needing the ongoing thread and connection with people that I find so grounding and joy giving that supports my fascination with difference and variety in so many other facets of my life. That, and the fact that (surprise!) I like to choose the changes, not have them happen to me willy nilly. We are unbothered by loud banging noises if we are the ones making the noise, but are incredibly irked by someone else making loud (and unpredictable) sounds. So, too, it is with change. If I choose the change, I’m all good. If it is someone else’s idea, I do not necessarily endorse it.
I suppose if there is nothing I can do to stem the flow of others’ choices, I must accept that this part of my world will shift at others’ behest. I can only hope to see the people from the pet store about town, or support their next venture, which with any luck, will become part of the evolving fabric of MY town.