Sunday, 11 December 2011
SHARE THE SPACE!
The coffee shop that just opened in my neighbourhood is a booming place lately. It’s as if the chain is new and everyone wants to try it out, when in reality, there are two more of the same chain with in a 10 minute radius of this particular spot. Ok, I am not going to get bitter about this, so I am just going to get to the point. This new hot spot has room for approximately 28 people to sit comfortably, that is, if we SHARE THE SPACE. Right now I am sitting at a large table, about ten feet log, by four feet wide and I am SHARING THIS SPACE with two other people, who are also on their laptops. One of the chairs however, is currently occupied by someone’s coat and bag (not a person). This to me is a prime example of a person who is claiming too much space as his own, and needs to learn to SHARE THE SPACE a little better. Now, I am going to begin this entry by pointing out that I am one of those people who will scope out the seating situation from the parking lot, grab a seat before ordering my tea, and proceed to mark that spot with a coat and some books that claim my particular space at the table. Sad, yes, but definitely necessary! However, I do have to admit that there are courteous ways of doing this. For example: I know that there are only two outlets within reaching distance of our table and I plugged in right away, again to claim the space. I also realize that once I have enough power I will be willing to unplug and share the outlet in hopes that my fellow space sharers will do the same. Ok, so what’s the point of this entry? The point is, if we just realize that we only need a modest amount of space in a public place to work and learn that monopolizing an entire ten-by-four table is outrageous and greedy, the overall experience will be much more pleasant, less aggressive and potentially interactive, you might even make a new friend! Finally, coffee shops are public spaces, and my hope is that we all took something from our elementary school experiences and learn to SHARE THE SPACE!
Monday, 28 November 2011
There is a tall, middle aged, pleasant man name Nathaniel that stands outside of one of the coffee shops I like to visit once in a while. He’s been standing there since I can remember and everyone in town knows who he is. If they don’t know his name, they know of him, or have heard of him (he’s is something of a legacy). He is a very kind man and I got to know him a little better today when he asked me to grab him a coffee. When I ordered the coffee, knowing that there was a possibility that the barista (Jamie) would recognize the order, I was a little worried that he would reprimand me for encouraging Nathaniel to continue loitering outside of the shop. Instead, after I had brought Nathaniel the coffee and came back in to get mine, Jamie replied, “ next time you order Nathaniel a coffee please let me know so I can make it decaf, he has a lot of coffee today and we know that too many aren’t good for him.” When the shock wore off, I said yes, of course. The capacity that we have to be kind and not even think about it, never ceases to amaze me. I was so shocked by Jamie’s natural, kind and real response that I knew it had to be shared. Kindness is something I love to observe, especially when that kindness comes so naturally.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Ok, please don’t judge me based on this blog. I regret that this has to be shared because I know that there are other “dodgers” (yes I said it, dodgers) out there. I will start by explaining the concept however simple, explanation is necessary here. So a dodger is not the baseball team or a sailing term, it is a person who avoids, hides and, in some extreme cases, runs away from a possible conversation or form of interaction with another person. Generally the conversations that are dodged are those that we are not in the mood to have. Case one: someone you knew from high school is sitting in the same coffee shop as you, you have a lot to do and not very much time to spare. So, instead of saying hi, waving, smiling, or acknowledging their presence in any way, you decide to slowly and “subtlety” sink into your seat and “hide” behind the screen of your laptop. First of all, this is the worst dodge attempt I have ever seen and secondly just do yourself a favour, avoid thinking through the ways that you can hide from this person and Just SAY HI!
Last week I dodged a high school acquaintance in a coffee shop by looking out the window the entire time they were ordering. Wait time: approximately ten minutes. I then preceded to text a friend and tell them who I just saw. The friend, who will remain nameless as a result of their absurd request, asked me to take a picture and send it to them as proof, as I claimed to be unsure of this person’s identity. Just to clarify and sound like a somewhat decent person, I will add that I did not take the picture, there was no confirmation necessary, it was her. The moral of this story is that it took about fifteen minutes, give or take, out of my “productive” work time to dodge this person when it could have taken me less than two minutes to JUST SAY HI!
Today, I ran into another old high school acquaintance and I said hi! This gesture took a record time of thirty seconds. I learned a little bit about this old friend’s new life, was introduced to some of their colleagues and went on with my work. Well if you want to call writing this work. I have to say that the satisfaction or sweetness level of this interaction was not exactly what I had hoped for; I think I was a little over zealous and excited about finally saying hi. Results aside, I learned that it’s easier and a lot more pleasant to say hi. I will work on the level my intensity in the future and hope for a slightly more responsive interaction. I’ll let you know how the next “Hi” goes.
How do you deal with unexpected “run-ins”? Share your own stories of “dodging”, or just saying hi here.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Inspiration: the amazing people who work at the coffee shop that I regularly visit.
Why: Not for a free drink, but because it is the experiences in life, not the results (ie: the cup of tea) that bring us joy. People are the “sugar” in my life and we have a lot to share and learn from one another. Stay tuned for the results of my first Imagine “it” post.
I think I’ve finally got it, and by “got it” I mean found “it”. Yes, you might be wondering what “it” is and unfortunately I don’t know right now because I don’t think we will really find “it” until it’s too late to record what exactly “it” was. Ok enough of this, I’m getting confused and I’m the one writing this.
So, how did this start? Well, I want to write something, I feel like I might have something to say or share, so here it is. I’m going to put it all out on the table. This my second “blog”, but I want to call it my first, because while writing the first one, let me re-phrase that, while writing my current blog about the process of planning my upcoming wedding (not to discredit wedding planning and the process, wedding planning is amazing and I want to do it again for someone else on someone else’s budget) I got lost. After writing about the engagement story and the initial unrest I started to get a little bored with myself (if that’s possible). So, this is the plan. I am going to dedicate sometime once, maybe twice, a week and conduct something like a social experiment. I am going to spread the sugar and spice of my own life and see what I get back. Yes, I am procrastinating (I am actually sitting in a coffee shop right now set-up to complete some outstanding tasks for work which have been in my bag untouched for over a week now; procrastination might be an understatement in this situation). So what am I going to do? I am going to be Kind to people. I am going to be kind for no reason other than; you get what you put out. My theory is to try and spread the sugar, the salted butter, whatever it is that makes you happy and record the sweet and spicy results of my experiment. I don’t want to use a cliché here (and in the future, for those of you reading, please let me know if I do and I will stop!), but as I am writing this the coffee shop radio just started to play John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Ok, I am going take this as a sign, incorporate that song into my title, for those of you searching for the same thing I am looking for, and start the experiment.