Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lattes & Magazines.

People are funny.

I've been both observing and participating in the human quirks that exhibit themselves in so many settings. Here's what I'm saying:

The other day, I had to go into three different coffee shops before I found one with a place to sit. I had a homework agenda, so you know, I was on a mission. As the minutes were ticking away, I was progressively ticking as well. As in getting ticked at how many people had the same idea at the very same time as me. In the very same city.

Anyways. Have you ever noticed how people act in those situations? Here's a few observations:

- The hopeful eye-sweep of the place... then the glare and mild shake of the head on the way out the door. Followed by Timmy's drive-thru.

- The hopeful eye-sweep of the place... then the puppy dog head-droop, stooped shuffle to the counter, followed by placing an order with a melancholy tone. Followed by one last eye-sweep while waiting for your latte. Followed by listening to CBC radio in the car in the parking lot. While sipping the latte.

- The confident stride-in... the confident order placed... followed by a stare-down of every table in the place. Followed by a casual lean on the drink counter while waiting for your americano. Lean continues until a chair is vacated.

Just some observations.

Also, in grocery stores people are funny again. It's all about when you're in line.

In line, there's a way to "be." You have a serious face on. You're looking at the cashier to affirm yourself or criticize yourself on your choice (see first blog for reference).

Sometimes you look at magazine covers. For each one you think, "That's so stupid. How ridiculous." But you keep grazing. It kind of makes you feel better about yourself. Like morally superior.

Maybe you think about buying a chocolate bar. Then you think about your last workout like a week ago and you're like... no, better not. Morally superior. Good job.

Meanwhile, what you're really avoiding is that moment of awkwardness where the person ahead of you gets the last of their stuff on the conveyor belt. Then they realize "the stick" - you know the one I mean - is missing from this particular till. To show you they know they're 'supposed' to place it behind their stuff for you, they gently tap their last one or two items, like they would a baby's bottom. You get the message.

So you begin to place your stuff on the belt, leaving exactly 7 inches between your stuff and your neighbour's. It's only right.

And you repeat the socially appropriate steps with the person behind you.

Here's the second part about that scenario that I find funny:

In line, there's this feeling like everyone's a little shy, a little stressed, a little annoyed with anyone ahead of them.

The minute they get to the till, though... it's all smiles. "Hi there. Yeah, I'm great, thanks for asking!"
Let me translate that for you:

"For the last 9 minutes, I've been a critical, judgmental person. Now I have what I want so I'm a really great person. Thanks for asking."

Remember, I fully admitted at the beginning: Observer and Participant.