Morning After



How does someone wake up the morning after facing a dangerous criminal? Usually my mind opens to a ballroom of ideas, but this particular morning it was more like an empty room until…


Until coming from nowhere I remembered one episode of my childhood, when I was around six. I believe we were in Cape Town. The city was full of shops and interesting activities for someone with my age. We used to go shopping wearing a lead designed for child safety. I don’t think it was fun to be dragged like a house pet but I guess my mother had to do it.


I remember picking two expensive toys in a shop. My mother told me that I had to choose one of them only. I started to cry because I couldn’t opt for one and leave the other. My mother decided to give me the money to pay for one toy, with the intention of making my mind easy. I just couldn’t decide. When I understood that with the money that I had I could buy just one expensive toy or six or seven less expensive ones, and have more fun with them, I just left the two favorites and went for other options. From the things I bought in that shop, I remember particularly well a little storybook.


The book was about a competition between two shop owners. One of them opened a shop to sell chandelier and other electrical appliances. Just a couple of weeks after, another similar shop appeared in the same street, almost in front of the first one. Every morning, the shop owners used to open the shop doors looking very upset and angry with the situation.


The second shop owner didn’t feel like he was less than the other, because his license was previous. He just needed more time to get ready. He knew that there was only market for one shop, so he decided to conquer the public with a frontal campaign. That’s why, one given morning, the first shop owner found a gigantic outdoor above the front shop where it was possible to read: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD”.


That night, the first shop owner couldn’t sleep well. He was up early morning, decided to answer to that defy. Soon, anyone could read above his own shop entrance: “THE BEST SHOP IN TOWN”.


It is evident that the second shop owner didn’t stop. He substituted the former advertisement for: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE COUNTRY!” The next day, he was reading above the front shop: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE CONTINENT!”


The second shop owner ordered a new campaign: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE HEMISPHERE!” It was getting a little harder to fight competition, but the first shop owner realized that he had to fight back. So he replied at once: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE PLANET!” The second went for: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE WORLD!” The first appeared with: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM!”


After a serious thought, the second decided to come up with a definitive blow. He wrote above the entrance of his shop: “THE BEST SHOP IN THE UNIVERSE!”


The first one was appalled. How could he defeat competition? How could he convince his clientele that his shop was the best one? He just couldn’t find any other sentence so powerful! Above all, he had to stop the silly war going on and prove once and for all that he couldn’t accept defeat. His shop was his life and he would never back off. Once this was clear to him, the answer came easily. He could never be defeated with it!


The next morning, the second owner could read above the other shop the following killer sentence: “THE BEST SHOP OF THIS STREET!”


This story is to get you to a brief and precise concern of mine. In Miradouro, there are important local and international people living. Really important people. A few meters in front of a particular house it is clean, illuminated and safe. However, just 100 meters away, to its left, Miradouro is opening a threatening crater and nobody does a simple thing. A little more than 100 meters to the right, there are open “lixeiras” (rubbish spots) where children and tramps live. As I don’t intend to go much further, I pop my straight question: why not start to rule this country by making things right on your own street?