Slowing down is the New Black
It’s the small things done consistently that make the difference in life and the daily shopping experience on our fair isle is no exception. The island community rhythm makes this otherwise perfunctory task so much more than a mere money exchange of goods and services. It is the antithesis of what we experience in the city where shoppers and their carts are lined up tight and one is expected to pay close attention with card in hand ready to transact a fast payment so the next customer can charge through. On Bowen, sometimes the conversation only gets started as items are rung in so that by payment time you may not have covered everything. We genuinely want to know how the trip went, or if the dog is feeling better, how their aging mother is doing, or perhaps a quick recipe suggestion. It’s a visit with every purchase, a connection. It’s community.
If you are new to Bowen and haven’t quite shed the cloak of the city pace, I understand how this could be irritating. You are on a schedule, you have things to do, appointments to keep and here I am chatting away to the shop clerk. Sigh. I get it. It simply wouldn’t be tolerated in the city. Perhaps our current Bowen Island Municipality tag lines could add one more – declared by the slug mascot: “slow is the new black.”
There are countless Bowen businesses and staff that contribute to a better shopping experience and here are a few of my favourites: Nancy at the General Store – I marvel at her consistent sense of humour, smile and quick wit even in the height of the summer silly season. To me, this borders on super hero-ness. And I still use her cheesecake recipe she gave me years ago while ringing through a mountain of cream cheese bricks for a summer party cheesecake extravaganza. Karen at the Ruddy Potato who always (unfailingly) smiles cheerfully to ring through my purchases. There’s a simple beauty in that. Lois at the Ruddy who has often sparked my creativity in the kitchen with a brilliant culinary suggestion, helped me peg an ingredient when I can’t think of it. Or find it. She is a quiet magician. And lastly, dear Sam at Bowen Pet Supplies who is perhaps the kindest, most service-oriented fellow I have ever met who has, on more than one occasion, delivered my son’s Houdini-like Shepard safely back to her house satisfied with dog treats.
It is these small, but powerful gestures that I adore about our island life and appreciate all year round as I leave behind the madding crowds of the city. But especially this time of year when I think we all crave a slower pace, a warm smile and a sense of belonging. So next time it’s taking too long in the grocery line up this season, remember we’re on Bowen where we are lucky enough that sometimes it’s more than just a transaction. Happy Christmas!