Earlier today i was sitting working in Starbucks while Chris Martin sang gentle somewhat melancholic tunes to me.
SUDDENLY, like in a movie [one that was maybe titled ‘Everyone in Starbucks rushes pointingly at the window’] everyone in the store suddenly started rushing to the window behind me, pointing and looking very much like they had just witnessed someone steal a laptop computer from an unassuming customer outside before jumping through the window of a car that came screaming up and drove wildly off into the distance.
What had happened to cause such a ruckus, you might ask? [especially if you were the kind of person who uses words like ‘ruckus’ in ordinary everyday sentences].
Well, outside the Starbucks store, and clearly visible through the window behind me, a man had just had his laptop grabbed by a young guy who then jumped through the window of a car that came screaming up and drove wildly off into the distance.
Talk about action. No, that was an observation, not a command. Stop actually discussing the concept of ‘action’ and pay attention here…
TO LAPTOP IT OFF
What made it a little worse for the guy in question was that a short while later i overheard him speaking on his phone in Starbucks and he was telling the person on the other end of the phone, [and me, i guess, but with far less intentionality], that this was the second time it had happened to him. The second time he had lost a laptop.
This was starting to sound like my life for a second [For the record, i think i am on three – two stolen and one blown over the side of a mountain by a gust of wind – true story!]
i was super bummed for the guy and spent a bunch of time trying to figure out if there was anything i could do for him. “Um, sorry you lost your laptop computer, but can i buy you a Flourless Chewy Chocolate Cookie?” didn’t seem like the most helpful of things to say, and “Hey, can i buy you a new laptop?” didn’t feel like anything i wanted to try and explain to tbV later that evening.
TWO BREADS, FIVE FISH
The one thing i had heard him say [this is not a blog post about the importance of not eavesdropping on people in coffee shops just in case you thought that was the twist cautiously making its way to you] was something about needing to go somewhere to pick up a different computer so he could finish the work he needed to do.
On this particular day i happened to have the black tinted window gangster BMW we have been kindly lent for the last few months and so eventually i approached him and pretended to grab his bag. No, i didn’t. That would have been horrible. Stoppit! But i asked him if he had a vehicle and explained that i had one and if he needed to get somewhere i could give him a ride.
He seemed genuinely moved and appreciative, but he turned down the ride with some or other reason i didn’t listen to [i felt like i’d eavesdropped enough by that point] and i went on my way. And as he left the Starbucks a little later, he turned to me and gave me one of those we-both-get-the-same-thing subtle head nods and i smiled at him because i had no idea why he was subtly head nodding and figured i needed to pretend i did or else he might come back in and try to explain it to me.
START WHERE YOU ARE
So a story about me not giving a stranger a lift. How useful is that?
Well, i am hoping there is a bit of a point.
This past weekend the whole #YesAllWomen hashtag and ensuing stories and blog posts and articles really affected me quite deeply. i resonated so deeply with the message that was being both passionately shared and enthusiastically pushed back against. But i didn’t really have any idea what to do to make any of it any less painful.
So i wrote this blog post. And it didn’t feel like much at all, and probably wasn’t. But it was something. Like the little kid in the story of Jesus feeding the crowd who gave up his lunch [which let’s face it was completely ridiculously underwhelming in the face of the immense need] i gave what i had and hoped against hope that it would be used to accomplish far more than it ever had the capacity to achieve in and of itself. All i really had to offer was awareness and i am looking at what feels like the next step which is asking the right questions [anyone know what ‘The Right Questions’ are? or one right question? even one ‘Heading towards rightish’ question might be a good start?]
DO WHAT YOU CAN
On another day, the laptopless guy might have really appreciated a lift somewhere. i hope that i will be the one asking when that happens.
i am trying to cultivate a mindset of being more open to invite the interruption that happens around me. You see, i had a bunch of work i was in the middle of doing, so giving this guy a lift would certainly not have been convenient. It probably would not have been comfortable [cos he probably would have wanted to speak to me or something… urgh… and then expected me to maybe speak back.] But it would have been great.
If he had needed a lift, i imagine he would have felt loved. Actually i imagine he felt that anyways [that subtle head nod had to mean SOMEthing?]
And that is a great start. It is not a great finish. There is more we can do. There are more significant ways for us to get involved, but we have to do what we can and hope that something more impressive reveals itself as we do so.
That is all. Except i’m not that convinced that i would ever go and watch a movie called ‘Everyone in Starbucks rushes pointingly at the window’, no matter how much Johnny Depp starred in it.
[One man who has inspired by me in this by sharing his platform with some women so that their voices can be heard is Micah J Murray and you can read some of those powerful posts over here in this first post by Becca Rose]