Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Old Reliable

The nice thing about running is, for me, the fact that I can lace up my shoes and head out the door: kazam, I'm running. It does mean that I see a lot of the same sights as I head out into the neighborhood. I have become familiar with most of the local businesses, at least from the street. I'm always interested to find that this merchant or that shop owner has changed their window display, or when some of them have gone out of business. They become blank spots on my path through the 'hood.
There was a whole group of offices that remained vacant for several months. I ran past without much more than a glance through the glass, revealing a cardboard box here, a broken light fixture there. There was little to distract me as I chuffed along purposefully. No distractions. Until the day I came around the corner and spied the new gold paint on the front door of the center office: "Reliable Cremations." Inside there was a desk, a large black chair behind it, and two smaller armchairs in front of it. Immediately my mind began to imagine the interactions that would take place in this room. The calm voice of wisdom coming from the big chair, the confused and grieving concerns from the ones facing the wall. It only occurred to me later how odd it would be to carry on this sort of business with one quarter of the office exposed to the world. I know the sign suggested reliability, but this was nearly Cremations Al Fresco.
There was another odd feature to this place. No matter when I chose to run past it, morning, noon or night, it was empty. I suppose it makes sense that I have never seen a living soul in Reliable Cremations, but it made me wonder when and how these transactions took place. Right up until this weekend, when the ceiling to floor blinds showed up. This came as something of a relief, since for the past few weeks there has been a white coffin parked just to the right of the desk. It made me consider, once again, the nature of this business. Was that a display model? Did they really need more than one coffin? Was that a sign of business getting better, or worse?
So much to consider as the blocks fade into miles, until I am home again, happy to be considering mortality from this side of the window.

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