Archive for november, 2013

I’m one of those guys who doesn’t see what’s in front of him

You know the drill, rushing home after work to make it to the bank or the grocery store. Being part of the traffic jam for an extra half an hour, so you can make it to the clothes repair shop right before their closing time.

At the same time, we all talk about how we should do things local, right? How the local community is the basic building bloc of a healthy society.

And we all know that to enhance the integration process with our brothers and sisters from another culture, we simply have to start interacting on a daily basis. Interaction in small, positive, regular (almost boring) chunks.

So easy, isn’t it? To improve the world. We are almost there! Almost perfect!

Until yesterday’s lunch break, that is.

I take a stroll to a local baker to place an order. And all it takes is three minutes to realize what an idiot I am usually.

Why am I driving those gruesome extra 15 minutes to the tailor’s shop “in my own town”? Here is the the Moroccan tailer, two minutes from the door of my office.

Across the street is the West African owner of the newspaper shop, who also acts as post office. Why am I rushing home on Tuesdays so I can go to “my own” post office?

There are tons of good vegetables at the Pakistani corner store. That sure beats doing the isles at my “home” grocery store, full of people that are supposedly my neighbours but who are mostly just anonymous faces to me.

Local is literally where you are. A community consists of those literally around you.

All these shop owners have names, a family and a story. And sometimes a good-looking daughter.

We are in such a hurry to get out of the city (in my case, Brussels) that we ignore what’s underneath our nose.

Shame on me.