Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Importance of Being Neighborly Over Coffee

Yesterday, on MLK day, I set out to write my first (after a long break) blog post.  It was on the To Do list.
I was at a coffee shop.  The blog name was taking shape.  Just one quick post and I'd be off.  The first post can be tricky.  Or at least have some sort of emotional pressure associated with it.
But readers, I did not write a post.
Instead, I had a fun experience that I will share with you.
My computer was out on a table with 2 composition books, a legal pad, and a cup of coffee.  My possessions are like my thoughts, strewn about.  I was listening to a class online, jotting down a business idea, prioritizing my to do list, when a person walked into the coffee shop.  Clearly I wasn't giving the online class my rapt attention.
I hesitate to say the name of the man or location of the shop because I appreciate my privacy.  I appreciate his as well.  I assume he might like to have some.

At any rate, this very talented singer walked in and my thoughts were thus:
Oh.
I like his 20s/ 30s look.
His hair is different.
I know his face.  That is _________ (left intentionally blank).

Then I second guessed myself and Google imaged him, verifying my recognition skills. (Oh the world we live in!)  Then I remembered one of my many New Year's Resolutions: Do things that scare you. 
(More resolutions to come...) 

So there I sat, thinking it out, debating, weighing, and I decided that the scary thing to do would be to act aberrant and ask for an autograph.  I stood up with one of my composition books, walked past him, sort of cut in the coffee line said something about how I was not really cutting and then awkwardly pointed out I knew who he was and could he write his name down for me.  What an odd custom.
"I started a new notebook today," I managed to say.
"It's a good day then." This guy replied.  
And we talked about notebooks.  Spiral vs. bound. 
This was familiar territory; things felt less scary because a new notebook does mean it's a good day.  My brain took a detour and wanted to revel in the fact that someone else knows this is true.  But we were still talking and I didn't have the capacity to contemplate finding a kindred spirit while also conversing.  I tried, but it resulted in sentences like this: 
"So you're here. I normally just see you on t.v."  Classic me.  Did I think he was a hologram? Of course he was "there."
When it was his turn to order I was content to leave him in peace (ahem, run away), since I felt like an intruder.  But, he said that he'd get his coffee and come find me.  
I went back to my pile of notebooks and computer and sat down feeling dumbfounded.  I quickly updated my Facebook page.  Then pretended to continue learning about Content Strategy.   
When he came over, I still hadn't decided how to behave.  There were times when I began to start to drift off into musical thinking.  Musical thinking is when you think in a moment everyone around you will begin to sing and dance in perfect harmony.  I am not sure at what age I came to understand this doesn't happen.  I suspect I figured out about Santa before I let this dream go.  It took some control to get those thoughts quashed yesterday.
Outside of my flight of fancy, it was a pleasant talk. This doesn't sound like much, but to talk to someone who looks at your face and in your eyes, is rare.  He didn't check his phone or watch, and when he needed to go, did so.  I was flattered to have a person's attention for that long.  Not to mention the attention of someone who understands: the importance of writing in notebooks, the consequences of emptying a fridge a day before traveling, and the pleasure that is a French patisserie. 
And I hope that I'll have the pleasure of talking with him again.  Being neighbors and all, it just might happen.