Thursday, January 12, 2012

Janathon 2012 Day 12: Rituals

Janathon 2012 Day 12: Cycle - 23 miles, Time 1hr 45min, Weather - blustery
Today's ride was a big loopy shopping trip, using the bike rather than going by car. First Watford, then on the way back I diverted to buy some coffee from Smiths, which roasts and supplies just about any bean you could think of (they have coffee of 32 different origins). 
Buying from them in person is an experience because they don't operate a retail shop, instead they allow people to buy - which is completely different. Firstly you have press the buzzer and say you want to buy some coffee before the door is released and you are allowed up. You then say what you want and the receptionist/secretary phones down to the warehouse; after a short wait someone then comes up with your beans, freshly packed in a generic silver bag. Brilliant - it is like being part of some secret coffee club.
Their building is by the canal  and I locked my bike by the lock (oh what punning fun we have!), opposite a man sitting peacefully on a bench. When I came back he said I needn't have bothered locking it. I replied that I didn't know how long he would be there. 
He pointed to what was left of his cigar and said "probably another 15 minutes"
"How long does it take to smoke one of those?"
"About two hours."
"Excellent." I said, not because I think smoking is good but because I thoroughly approve of the idea of sitting down for a long period of time and contemplating.
"I am celebrating the second anniversary of my retirement."
"Lucky the weather is quite mild" I said thinking a long smoke in winter might otherwise be a bit hardy
"Doesn't bother me. Thermals on. No problems. I spent 25 years in the freezer" (He worked for Golden West, distributors for MacDonald's, picking stock from the freezers).
It is good to have an anniversary ritual and be tough enough not to let any type of weather get in the way. Although his ritual may not be mine I like the idea of appreciating something, slowly and carefully to mark an occasion. 
I left him thinking about ceremony and how it is virtually non existent in my life. Although there's many a time I fall into reverie and contemplation, I have few rituals. I am not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.

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