I’m afraid I’ve been remiss but please don’t mistake this for an apology. It’s more of an explanation really. The thing is I started this blog for a couple of reasons. The first was to help people better understand the benefits of living life as a shallow person. I hope I have done that by sharing with you some of the stories of my life. The second was to provide those of you inclined to follow in my steps with some tricks and tips for doing so. And this is where I think I may have stumbled just a bit. Because I haven’t really focused on the “how to’s” which isn’t all that surprising since I have never been one to tell people what to do. Except of course the kids. But that’s to be expected. So, I was quite pleased the other day when I came upon a situation that reminded me what this blog was all about and how I might have gotten slightly off the path I was trying to beat. It was, as they say in my world, a teachable moment.
It all started with a coffee meeting set up to discuss some really important work stuff. A little before we were to meet, my wonderful colleague (yes, she reads the blog) let me know that if she arrived before I did she would pick up my drink for me. My immediate reaction was “how lovely of her” followed closely by “so what would it hurt if I’m a couple of minutes late?”. And sure enough, when I arrived I found both her and my drink waiting patiently for me. It was at that moment I realized there really is such a thing as a free lunch, or at the very least, a coffee and that perhaps this particular skill of mine was something to be shared with others. Because, as you can see, it’s about the timing. Late enough to ensure she would get there before me but not so late to cause her to become irritated. Or let my drink get tepid. But while the timing is critical, what is even more important in a situation such as this, is to shed any shred of guilt you might feel about pulling this off. Which, goes without saying, is not all that difficult for a truly shallow person.
Let’s look at another example. You’ve just finished a delish repast with a friend you haven’t seen for perhaps forty years or so. You’ve exchanged the requisite numbers of stories about kids, travel and first husbands when it occurs to you that a moment even more uncomfortable than the conversation you have just experienced is still to come. Let’s face it. You know the server will place the cheque strategically at equi distance between you and your lunch partner so here’s what you need to do. Hesitate for just a moment. If you have to, save that last forkful of desert for this very purpose and when your new found friend reaches to pick up the cheque, resist any urge you may have to suggest a different solution to this problem. No matter what that little voice inside your head tells you just say “how nice”, and “thank you”. To assuage any twinges of guilt you may have at this juncture, think of it this way. Either she has enjoyed your company so much that she’s happy to pay or she has way more money than you do. One way or the other it’s a win-win and you just got a free lunch. Remember, timing and guilt.
Of course it won’t always go this way. There are those who prefer a more collaborative arrangement, a “round robin” of sorts where they get this one and you get the next. Go ahead and make that deal. But may I respectfully suggest that before your next date you take another boo at “Forgetting…it’s an art”. I’m guessing that little refresher will come in handy right about now.