Sunday, September 10, 2006

It Don't Cost a Thing

Mom and I were given Starbucks cards and decided to use them yesterday while we were out. We decided to treat ourselves to the first pumpkin drinks of fall. She got her frapp, and I got my latte--both laced with pumpkin spice goodness. Now, I know that this may not sound like a big deal to all of you spring fans, but for a fall-enjoyer like me, this was glory.

Moving on. On our way to the car, I was telling Mom about an experience when my grandmother and I had been out somewhere and were just being friendly to a lady and her little boy, and she'd completely snubbed us. I remember my grandmother remarking on how unfriendly some people are, when being civil doesn't cost a thing.

So I was relating all this to Mom, because we'd just had a similar experience in line. I looked down at my cup, and instead of the usual heresy or hippie incoherence, I found "The Way I See It, #141." Now, this very well may be the first Starbucks cup I've gotten with any thing sensible written on it, other than the usual "Careful, the beverage you're about to enjoy is extremely hot" warning that is usually there. Anyhoo.

"The Way I See it, #141" said this:

I used to feel so alone in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for many years. And then I realized, you just say, “Hi.” They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.

-- Augusten Burroughs, Author of Running with Scissors.

I thought, how interesting that is. A simple greeting and a smile don't cost anything--there's no risk involved. If people ignore you, it doesn't really matter. But then again, it could be that the other person will be friendly. Maybe you'll learn something, receive a smile back, simply brighten their day, maybe even gain a friend. As this author points out, however unlikely it may seem, you could possibly find a friend for life! I really enjoy these everyday encounters with people I don't know. It's like having a window into the personalities of people you could easily gloss over. It's one of my favorite parts of everyday errand-running, when a perfect stranger can carry on an interesting conversation in the checkout line. Except when it's a desperate twenty-something guy with a bunch of beer talking about how single he is.


  • At 9/11/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Leila said…

    Thank you for the reminder Katie :). I remember being so thankful for genuinely kind people who came through my line at the various retail stores I've worked at (especially Returns at Home Depot!). It was such a blessing compared to the grumpy, selfish ones. I also love Fall - kudos to autumn people!

  • At 9/11/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger J.OTIS MERSTER said…

    It's neat to think that you, just being a sweet and kind person, could happen to smile at a guy in line at Starbucks-some guy who woke up on the wrong side of the bed and just wants his morning cuppa joe. Maybe you will make him smile; maybe you will make his day so much brighter that he will act kinder to all the other drivers on the road, to all his co-workers, and even to his own family when he gets home after work. It's neat to think how much one little smile can do for so many people.

  • At 9/11/2006 6:41 PM, Blogger BlogPirate said…

    Avast! I got a pumpkin spice frappaacciinnoo today and was sorely disappointed. It was good but I could not taste this "pumpkin spice" that it supposedly contains. It was frap with a capital C.

  • At 9/18/2006 9:28 PM, Blogger muddfx said…

    hey whats this pumpkin spice business all about? is it some crazy american thing we aussies don't understand? i can only assume it works in the same way a pumpkin pie or pumpkin scone does. next time you're 'down under' look for a 'Gloria Jean's' coffee house and order a mudslide mocha. Boo-YAH!

  • At 9/19/2006 11:50 AM, Blogger theGracegirl said…

    Leila, I'm sure your attitude was an encouragement to customers' days, even if they didn't return the favor. Yay, Fall! I keep seeing reddish brown leaves. I think we should make a new rendition of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" for the Fall season. Just a thought.

    J. Otis, I'm thankful for the ways you and all the other bloggers encourage me in that way. I do believe that it is a priority to have "the hope that is in us" shine to the outside world.

    Blogpirate, Avast! I love your spelling of frappuccinos. When in doubt, use lots of letters. The only thing that was disapppointing to me about the latte I had was that the pumpkin spice ended up in clumps at the bottom of the cup. A bit of swishing helps with that. But tell me, are there Starbucks franchises on your seaworthy vessel? I know Starbucks is pretty much everywhere. Maybe even in Davy Jones' Locker. ARGH!

    Muddfx, you're on the money. Pumpkin spice is simply a flavoring spice mix to make it taste like pumpkin pie. Maybe a little nutmeg and cinnamon as well as some form of pumpkin flavor, real or otherwise. My mom says her pumpkin spice mix (for making pies) consists of cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg. At least I got two outta four. Next time I'm in aussieland, I'll remember that tip! Good coffee is an important thing to remember while travelling!


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