Walking ChinaTown in Montreal this morning I found myself reflecting on, purpose.
Glancing threw the windows to gain a sense of, who. Not who are you, but who are you attracting. Why are you here, and what do you want?
Why here, and not posted on a website somewhere for me to find, in a community flyer that might have been delivered to my doorstep earlier in the week or maybe even posted on a radio ad that I could have listened to and been reminded of a basic want or need that drew me close enough to hover over your window display this morning.
Why me, I don’t live here, I have no shelf space for these items, some of the items I can’t even afford. Other items provide me with no purpose. It must have been, intrigue, no doubt an absence of something I unconsciously stumbled upon.
While stuck to your display I began to realize what it was I had come to rest on, it was a tea ball, but not just any tea ball. It was a tea ball with a sense of belonging. It reflected a seemingly Chinese culture of taking something so basic, so full of repetition, and removing boredom from this products use. It belonged in the window display in a ChinaTown Souvenir Store, it belonged in the mug to provide definition and usefulness to passerby’s and it belonged to the similar items on display.
Without being displayed in a mug, it could have been mistakenly thought of as an air freshener, a chew toy or even a child’s popsicle mold. The fact that this tea ball was in the shape of a human, with its arms reached out in opposite directions and clinging to the side of a mug, and the ever present reminder of the items questionable bottom half with its’ infuser appearance and functionality.
Obviously, a tea ball. Instructions? Self explanatory given the display, the simplicity of what this item does, and what I needed to do to continue the enjoyment this item could potentially provide. It was ready for use, but required a transaction.
My next step, open the door, walk in the store, search for the saleable item, complete a purchase and walk it to it’s purpose.
The problem, the store was closed. The teaball would remain away from me until I had a reminder of need. Was there going to be one? I doubted it, I don’t live here, I don’t have shelf space for it, I saw no means of the shop keeper or shop, identifying with me in any way that either one of them could remind me of a potential purchase.
So I left without disappointment, without hesitation. I simply left, because when I looked away from the window display, and down along the cobblestone pedestrian street, I saw more storefronts.
More storefronts, to me, meant more opportunities to glance into this world of window displays that these Chinese business people have invested in. providing a sense of purpose to their saleable items, and a greater sense of purpose to those that approach the shopkeeper to complete purchases of items they need or want.
My sense of purpose wasn’t eroded from the fact I left empty handed. I left satisfied in knowing that ahead of me were many other window displays, and happy that out there somewhere, were people still curious enough to take such a necessary item to tea-making, as a tea-ball, and remove the repetitive factor of its use, in a simplistic, useful and casual nature as this.