We Are Sorry For Your Loss

I caught the Orgasmatron to work today. The #12 route is served by only the oldest, noisiest, rattling heap of shit buses. The brakes wheeze and the windows shudder, the seats are cracked and creaky. But after awhile you discover the mechanical shortcomings of these vehicles can lead to a most exquisite side-effect. Especially when one sits on the lower deck during peak-hour, ideally on a Friday afternoon when the bus has to wait at traffic lights for long periods, rumble rumble rumbling. Soon enough you're praying for a three car pile-up so you'll be stuck at this spot for just a little… bit… longer!

But no time for cheap thrills today, this was Friday morning and I was running late. I sat upstairs and squinted into shop windows as the bus inched along. There's squillions of charity shops in Edinburgh, and they all seem to have a copy of Naomi Campbell's Swan on their bookstands.

I worry about the little shops. I look at the dinky hairdresser with photos of Duran Duran-esque hairdos on the wall and wonder just who's going get their hair cut there? And the empty fishmonger, what's going happen to all that unsold fish? Does anyone ever go into that tiny cafe? I've kept a concerned eye on a little gift shop for the past six months. I've never seen a single customer in that whole time. What will become of the gift shop guy? Even if we could get one person to buy one card per hour, how's he going to live off that?

Sometimes you see people preparing to open a new business. They're proud and optimistic as they watch a dude on a ladder paint the shop name above the window. I fret about how much money they've sunk into this, if they'll get any customers. It's depressing near my house — first the ice cream place closed down, then the framing shop, the scooter shop and now the shoe shop that only opened six months ago. If the bagpipe shop goes next I will cry!

The #12 wobbled to a halt near a funeral parlour. Dozens of squealing school kids piled on. I watched a lady swatting a display of headstones with a feather duster. She looked around the shop and checked her watch, then she must have sighed heavily because her bangs drifted up and down. She came to the front of the shop and leaned against the door frame, lips pursed tightly.

Imagine having your livelihood dependent on someone elses deadlihood. She looked so anxious, twirling the duster in her hands, waiting for someone to kick the bucket. It wasn't exactly the biggest or fanciest funeral joint I'd seen, I hope she made enough to get by.

I considered getting up and shoving one of the kiddies down the stairs to boost her profits, but I was just getting comfy in my seat.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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25 thoughts on “We Are Sorry For Your Loss

  1. When there’s a series of feather duster murders, you’ll know why. And instead of turning her in, you can demand a cut of the profits. But then the brake cables on your bus will mysteriously fail.

  2. Gee, Shauny, you have probably the keenest eyes and most compassionate heart! And it’s getting better. I can see the things you described as if watching one of those artsy European movies 🙂 I couldn’t have described it better even if I were there. Good work!

  3. (in my experience) it’s not proud optimism you feel as you watch your sign being painted, but pure butt-clenching worry. All your mates say it IS a good name, but is it really? We once talked a guy in India into naming his shop ‘RIP-OFF’ ‘coz it’s such a big brand-name in england!(we would have paid to get it changed back) It did actually work out well in the end though!!!!

  4. I’m with KW. Lovely observations, Shaunygal. Reading that, I felt as though I was watching a film on a super-8. All grainy and sweet and whimsical and melancholy at the same time.

    Oh how me (somewhere back in lineage) Scottish heart bleeds for a bagpipe shop! I would love to go to one of those. But I thought that you wouldn’t really buy bagpipes new, that instead they’d be handed down. Interesting.

  5. Oh Shauny, I have that same problem. I worry about small businesses all the time. Monkey and I tried to keep Wally’s Kitchen (a crappy little takeaway near where we live) alive by buying fairly average chicken burgers and kebabs about once a week (usually a Sunday lunch treat of sorts), because there was never anyone in there. It went out of business a couple of months after opening.

    Breaks your heart. So friendly and hopeful when they first opened. So friendly with an uncomfortable touch of desperation the weeks leading up to their closure.

    There’s a lawyer’s office there now.

  6. mo – yeah it’s like a car garage, you can test drive them and everything… i think.

    mattay – wally’s closed down!? oh that’s sad. i only got that one kebab with you that time, it was pretty decent! you wouldn’t think a lawyer would do that well in that spot?

  7. sorry about starting the shitstorm down there, miss lovely bloodnut shaunykins, i wasn’t trying to be all like “yeah you should write a book because i say so and i’m the boss of you and everything”, i was all just trying to be supportive and say like “hey you know what you’re probly the best writery type person that i can claim to be acquainted with and it would be awesome if you would write a book for my own edification of being able to show it to people and say “hey my mayte shauny wrote this and she totally rocks and i nearly had dinner with her once but the bitch had the temerity to be in sydney when i was in canberra , that bitch.”

    also, i don’t think you should worry about the bagpipe shop.


  8. so yes now that i read it i realise that i called you a bitch in that last post. twice. that was simply uncalled for. sorry. i think maybe i do swear too much for some blogs. your blog is so NICE that i feel super bad about it.


  9. How strange. I feel the same way about whole towns, sometimes. I think the last town to give me that feeling was Beaudesert and its kooky reverse angle parking.

  10. bill, you have nothing to apologise for you dork! don’t you worry about a thingading!!!

    graham – they still reverse angle park in the main street of cowra! 45 degrees. The first time i attempted it, it was more like 90. luckily the street was verrrry quiet!

  11. Hi. Recently found you site. I enjoy reading your postings…you’re such a great writer! And I like reading about life in Scotland. Keep up with the interesting posts.

    Melissa (In U.S.A.)

  12. I too will cry when (IF) the bagpipe shop closes down. The man in there shouted something and waved me away last time I spent too long peering in the window and imaging the noise I could make with a shiny new shanter. I like that man. Made me wish I had a shop I could wave people away from.

  13. My mother played the bagpipes. That sound haunts my dreams. Occasionally, my nightmares.

    At least the funeral director won’t go broke. Nobody stops dying.

  14. You know, Miss Shorners, I’ve been reading this here blog for aaaages and I STILL start singing ‘woaoa-woah-woah-oooh-ooh’ every time I come here.

    MB- you’ve been around here longer than I – does it ever end?

  15. I’ve been coming here for over three years, Monkey babe. And no. No it does not. But it gets endearing after awhile.

  16. Strange. When I come here, I keep thinking that, on a whim, she could change the weblog’s name to “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” and not have to change the URL. Not so much the Tom Jones earworm.

  17. For us chaps, upstairs is best.
    I’m told.
    I never go upstairs cos that’s where the noisy boys sit. I stay downstairs with the grannies 🙂

  18. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, Shauna: the bagpipe shop has gone. Well, moved to the other end of the Meadows, according to the sign. But it’s at Tollcross no more. Must be because they know you’ve moved!

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