Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Open for business

I had an early appointment this morning before work, and arrived just in time to see the person I was meeting with arrive at her shop. She unlocked her gate, upon which hung a wooden 2-sided sign, "Open/Closed". She flipped it over and the day began.

There's something about the act of flipping over a wooden sign, from Closed to Open at the start of the day. A pace within your own control. Romantic. Tactile. Human. A signal almost lost in this always-on world we all love so much.

It's a different feeling than being in an office where the signal the day has begun is the automatic fluorescent lights turning on at the same prescribed time. Somehow the sign is more human. It doesn't happen without someone actually showing up to turn it over. The lights go on without you - whether you are ready or not. The sign, like my perfect day, waits for me.

The same can be said for the other end of the day. Lights turn out at a time determined to signal the end of a day. Whether or not you are ready, that's the time. Our programmed, timed world is efficient for sure. The metaphor of that rustic wooden sign made me stop and think about how we can keep a little bit more "human" in it.

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