Saturday 10 November 2007

Leaping tree

Trees leap. Life moves on. Things change. And Blogger doesn't always work, which is why the badge is under the damn photo not above it!

I remember - I'm sure no one else does - that one of the first things I blogged about was the local pharmacist calling me Jean. It made me feel odd, somehow defined by chronic illness. Strangely, really, as I hate being called anything else and my instinct is always to use first names. Ms Morris? Who's that? Too much like Ms Mouse! But he's much younger than me, and everyone calls him Mr Patel. It felt wrong: 'ça cloche', as the French untranslateably say.

I froze him out, and he never did it again. Until today, when I went for the nty-nth time to collect my migraine medication (for which I daily thank god, or whoever), and the shop, exceptionally, was empty. Since the first time I mentioned it, the pharmacist's shop has been refurbished, extended, sells all manner of lovely homeopathic and organic everything from shampoo to handcream to insect repellant, as well as holding the repeat prescription franchise from most of the local doctors' surgeries. An exemplary independent business holding its own in the age of globalisation. But today, Saturday, at 12.15 pm, it was empty. The pharmacist emerged from behind the partition to serve me himself and said: hello Jean. Hello, I said. How are you? My goodness, how rare to see the shop empty! Ow, he said, do not tempt fate! That's what you get for having such a lovely shop, I said. It's lovely. Really. You sell such great stuff. He smiled and we were equal. I was not patronised. The shop is lovely. Two and a half years seems a long time. Sometimes.


Anonymous said...

There's so much to comment on in this little post, Jean. Being on a first name basis is something I'm not always sure of with certain people though we are very casual in North America.

I love the sound of this shop, a pharmacy and alternative health products in one! I've never heard of that before, for here they are poles apart, though one can get a few of the most common homeopathic remedies in some places now. Our bigger 'drugstores' sell everything from cameras, computers, appliances, food... go figure.

Lucy said...

A satisfying story of ordinary life!
I do like that picture; it's curious how by titling it as you do, the eye travels differently over it. Normally I would follow the branch down to where it divides, seeing it as a fork, the movement toward the division; you make me see the thrust as upwards into the 'torso', with the forked part as legs... very clever seeing. I don't know if that makes sense but I know what I mean!

Zhoen said...

I used to hate grocery checkers reading my name off my check, and calling me by my first name. I felt I was being challenged on whether this was actually me trying to pay with whose checks, hmm? So obviously a corporate instruction meant to sound friendly, and was anything but.

Still, anyone I recognize, who genuinely recognizes me, first names are fine, welcome even. The rules are gone, and it's hard to know what is real and right.

Beth said...

It will astound me the first time someone in a Montreal shop calls me by my first name. And I'll be happy - but then I come from the rural U.S. where we expect to be on a first-name basis with virtually everyone!

I love the photo.

Solomon said...

I think "cloche" means bell. And I only know that because I bought a relative an Edith Piaf CD for Thingymas, and there's a song on it called "Les trois cloches (The three bells)".

Jean said...

Hello Solomon! Cloche does mean bell. But 'ca cloche' means something like 'something is wrong about that' or 'that feels all wrong'. I don't know the origin of this latter meaning.