Friday, April 19, 2013

Between Chaos and Order

After a quick trip to the post office, I returned to Twin Rocks Trading Post and found Earl standing in the shade of the porch. He seemed to be anticipating my return. Earl is a part-time resident of Bluff who spends most of his days crewing big boats on the Great Lakes and coastal waters of these United States. He visits us whenever he is in town, and we consider him a friend. Standing with his hands on his hips and an upset expression spread across his face, Earl looked peeved. I got out of the car and strolled in his direction, wondering just what the heck I might have done to tick him off. I climbed the steps, walked-up to Earl and asked, "What's up?" Earl dropped his hands, clenched his fists, jutted his jaw in my direction and said in a hurt voice, "I could ask the same of you. Just a while ago you walked into the cafe, looked right through me, went into the kitchen, got yourself a drink, walked by me again, spoke to some people across the aisle, took a telephone call and left without saying Boo, Kiss-off or How's your mother?"
Navajo Male & Female Yei Vessel - Nancy Chilly (#33)

I thought about asking, "So, how is your mother?” but decided he might not appreciate the humor. I apologized, and tried to explain that I had not ignored him. Instead, I simply had not seen him. He responded, "Well you saw those other people." "I did", I replied, "but if you recall, to capture my attention those folks reached-out and grabbed my arm." Earl acknowledged that fact and asked how I could move through our cafe and not see people there. "Well," I began, "First off, my baby blues are super sensitive to sunlight, and the cafe, with its huge picture windows, is generally bathed in light. That causes me trouble. Secondly, I am a 55-year-old guy, and like many old codgers I have a tough time separating important sounds from background noise. When it is busy at the cafe, all I hear is a dull roar. Lastly, the cashier was signaling that I had a telephone call which needed to be dealt with ASAP.

Pausing a moment, I continued, "So there you have it. The cafe is a hustling, bustling place and can be chaotic and distracting. If you want my attention while I am tripping through, throw something. I prefer taking a hit from a spoon rather than a knife or fork." Earl pondered my reasoning, relaxed a bit, shook his head in the affirmative and said, "I believe I understand, I am not as sharp as I used to be either." "Hey now," I said, interrupting his misguided thought, "I said I was easily confused by sights, sounds and the need to respond, not that I am no longer sharp!" "Oh", said Earl, "pardon me for not being able to distinguish the difference."

Later that day I was manning the trading post on my own, something Steve and I do rather easily. Compared to Twin Rocks Cafe, Twin Rocks Trading Post has a calm, serene atmosphere. One of the main reasons is that there are far fewer distractions, and, dare I say it, fewer employee personalities to deal with. There is order at the post. Anyhow, a couple of about 70 years of age walked through the Kokopelli doors and began a search for treasure. I discovered they were regular readers of our blog and were familiar with the inventory through our weekly e-mailers. The couple found the Nancy Chilly pot they were looking for and dialed-up their daughter, a pulmonologist in Boise, Idaho.

The pair meandered about the store describing baskets and folk art paintings to their doctor-daughter. Before long we had a three-way conversation going on their cell phone, between me and their daughter on our respective sides of the Internet. I am just old enough that the Internet and cell phones still fascinate me. Before long, because of modern technology, the couple and their daughter found a Peggy Rock-Black, Placing the Stars basket and a Leland Holiday Picasoesque rabbit painting to decorate her western home.

The dynamics of the cafe compared to those of the trading post are quite different. I find them both stimulating and interesting, but have to approach them each on their own terms. The cafe is in a constant state of flux; it is and always will be a crazy place to manage. The trading post is laid back and easy going, it calms my frazzled nerves. The lesson from these two diverse environments is harmony and balance under all circumstances. The pollen path is the ideal, and one day I will find it.

With warm regards,
Steve, Barry, Priscilla and Danny; the team.

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