The Aardvark Blog
The Art of the Personal
The Art of the Personal
Last week I had an unsatisfactory conversation with a junior member of staff belonging to Herefordshire Council's 'Service Provider'. They has been employed to remove all signs from the verges, and when I queried why there was money in the budget to prevent people finding us, but no money to mend the road in front of our car park, they informed me that the road had been mended to their employer's highest maintenance standards ( see below).
At some point in the conversation they said to me that what they were doing wasn't 'personal'. At that point the mists descended and I said in my quiet voice ( the one I adopt when I am more than usually mad), that whilst it might not be personal to them, it was very personal to me, as it impeded my ability to personally pay the wages of my self and my colleagues, to personally support and nurture local artists and businesses, and to personally run an award winning bookshop. Needless to say, no duck has a back from which water slips more easily than my words from their comprehension.
Yet fruitless though this exchange was, it did set me thinking about the personal and how much can be achieved when we all take things personally. On Saturday at the height of the map exhibition opening craziness Sarah took a call from a good customer whose car had broken down.
Friends and family being away for the Bank Holiday Weekend, they had no-one to pick up their child from school. Needless to say Sarah leapt into the car, brought said child to the bookshop, and we ran him home after work. Why did they ask ? Because they have a personal relationship with Aardvark. And that is also why it would not occur to us to refuse their request.
Yesterday furnished another good example of how the personal can conquer life's entropy and chaos. All our printers decided to run out of toner at the same time. I called Cartridge World in Leominster, explained to the owner the situation, and she immediately volunteered to stay open an extra hour to give me time to come and collect a new cartridge. Why did she do so ? Because again her customers are personally important to her.
So if you want to experience a part of the world where human values are still alive and well, get out your map and plot a course for the central Marches. Just don't go anywhere near our bureaucracy - some things even the strongest human spirit cannot change.
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