Earlier this year, a new business opened on the High Road in premises that had been empty for a while but had, for most of the last 20 years, been occupied by estate agents. It’s called “Exit Here”. From the tasteful, subdued look of the shop-front, and from the name of the business, I had no idea what it was for.
During the spring we took the restrictions of lockdown very seriously. Our regular exercise consisted of socially-distanced walks, keeping at least 2 metres away from other pedestrians and, as far as possible, from joggers. This was not always easy: many of them would run up directly behind you and heavy-breathe their way past.
We made trips at least once a week to the cemetery where my mother is buried, for many reasons. For one thing, the place was always free of joggers, and often free of other visitors. Driving home from one such trip, in twilight, I noticed the shop-front of “Exit Here” while stopped alongside it at nearby traffic lights. The sign above the door consisted of just those two letters, as you can see here.
There was nothing obvious to indicate what kind of business it was. Squinting at the front of the shop I could make out a few words to the right of the door. I read the following: “Life-affirming fun”. It seemed very subtle. I wondered if an Escape Room business had chosen this unfortunate time to open its doors (and try and lock paying customers behind them, for entertainment). My next journey past “Exit Here”, in daylight, revealed five missing letters from the words I had struggled to read: “erals”. This place isn’t about “Life-affirming fun” at all. It says “Life-affirming funerals”, all in capitals, as you can see below. Much more appropriate for the times we’re living in.