The anxiety-laced discomfort I feel when going somewhere I’ve never been before was no match for the warmth, welcome, and genuine kindness I experienced when I visited the Arcadian Shop in Lenox, Massachusetts last week.
This is not a little deal in my life. I generally don’t trust people or new places easily. However, for whatever reasons, it took a only minutes in the bike repair area of the shop to find myself feeling, not just safe, but welcomed, and, when I explained my reasons for seeking a new saddle for my bike (I’ve reached the age where every part of my body but my prostate likes biking), cared about. For someone whose been held up and shot in the head at point blank range, this is a striking truth in and of itself. There is no doubt the down-to-earth demeanor of every staff member I encountered, Alan, Ken, and the woman working in their café (I am ashamed to admit I can’t remember her name) was what did the trick.
It is also worth pointing out that when discussing the saddle and the bike as a whole, the staff exhibited a remarkable level of expertise.
Now, some who’ve been reading this blog since it began in late 2006 may be asking why on earth I am writing about a shop in Lenox, Massachusetts. Good question. I recently had a piece published in Independence Today about starting over. In it I talked about how this move to Massachusetts is the first time since the shooting that I am actively looking to connect my private life – not my life as an advocate or public speaker or writer – but my private life to the community around me. This means leaving the house for more reasons than simply riding my bike or walking my dog or hiking a trail or giving a speech or facilitating a workshop. It means going out and immersing myself in the world. More specifically, the community.
Encountering places like the Arcadian Shop and meeting the people who work there makes my efforts to rejoin life worth it. There are truly nice people, and, of significant import, they really do know what they’re talking about when it comes to the admirable range of products and services offered there.
Soon after I first arrived Alan let me know there was a café upstairs and the Tour De France was on if I was interested. I was overjoyed. I turned and headed for the stairs and, as I did so, said, “Who knew Lenox was in heaven.” To which Alan replied, “It’s close.”
He may well be right. The Arcadian Shop is a beautiful place. By the way, they resolved the bike saddle question for me and I’m back on the bike, much to my prostate’s dismay.