I swear there is a corporate memo hanging out there somewhere that “encourages” baristas to make small talk with the person in the drive through line awaiting their much anticipated cup of morning joe.
The memo reads something like this:
“The line is backed up and you are confronted with a sleep deprived mother of three on her way to work. Take her mind off the wait by inquiring about what she is up to today. If that does not work then ask her what she is doing this weekend (or last weekend if it’s a monday). If she offers one word answers or appears disinterested do not take it personally, said mom is probably emotionally drained and in need of our espresso to jolt her into a state of heightened awareness”.
This morning I hit the pause button. I looked up from my satellite radio, jumped past my own distaste (and lets face it lack of ability) to make small talk and I engaged with, let’s call her Kelsey (since I did not get permission to use her name in my blog), my drive through attendant. She smiled and inquired about my day. I told her I was heading into the office. And then instead of waiting for her to ask another question, I turned the tables on her. How was she doing? How was work for her this week? Oh you are worried about your nursing exams? Tell me what kind of hospital would you like to work in? The questions rolled off my lips in a manner much easier then I ever anticipated.
Once I started I simply could not stop.
The grande misto long since handed over and there I sat still learning about this young lady, working early mornings at the Starbucks and making her way through nursing school on her own at 20- excited for where life is going to take her.
An awkward moment where I realized I was now the cause for the back up in the drive through line, so I smiled, told her I hoped her exams went well and then drove off. Off into the start of my day filled with meetings, deadlines, doctors appointments and time chauffeuring children to evening activities.
Now I sit and rewind that morning interaction and I cant help but smile. I think about my days as a young women much like Kelsey-climbing the ladder, working a day job at the office and an evening job at Ann Taylor to make ends meet and surviving on pots of coffee and the proverbial Ramon noodle dinner. The conversation this morning took me back to a time long since forgotten by this working mom of 3.
Thinking on it now I wonder how maybe not that much has changed. I’m still surviving with pots of coffee (this time starbucks mistos) and now instead of ramon noodle dinners I order expensive takeout from the chinese restaurant down the street. I am still striving. The only difference between my 21 year old self and me as a 35 year old women is that I now climb for a different purpose.
Thanks Kelsey for reminding me how far I’ve come but how close I still am to where I was 15 years ago.
So this journey begins:
People and their stories .Challenging myself each week to reset and connect with those around me -strangers and friends alike.
My new story begins.