The Mouse and The Cheese

A little more than a year ago, when The Republic moved to Chelsea, I was looking for supplies to make some Mechanicals.

I wandered into a small, impossibly cluttered stationary store around the corner called Boro Art. The place predates the influx of affluence and commerce to the area, and rests quietly beside one of the largest trees on the block. The owner was sitting at his desk, surrounded by papers, and beckoned me to come in and sit with him.

We (he, really) talked for an hour, and I was not at all prepared for such an intense encounter with wisdom. Beyond the fact that I was on a mission for double-sided tape, my worldview was such that I simply wasn’t available at all times. It pains me to type those words, and this marks them as true.

A lot of the conversation I took in a comical way; the fire in his eyes threw me off. But one story in particular stayed with me, a parable about a mouse. I repeated it to anyone that would listen in the days afterwards, so taken was I with it.

Today, I took a lunch break from packing the office (the shop is moving at the end of this week) to eat at La Taza de Oro, easily my favorite lunch spot in the neighborhood. Strolling back, I saw the green awning of Boro Art and flashed back to that conversation.

I considered the distance between then and now, and marveled at how long—and short—one year can be.

And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember how the parable went. I’d lost it. I looked in the open door of the shop, and through a narrow aisle between shelves bent and groaning under the weight of haphazardly stacked stationary supplies, sat the owner. Just as he was, a year prior.

The parable is still worth sharing. The rest of our conversation, I’ll keep within.

28 September 2011, 15:43