Tag Archives: strangers

It’s Christmas in Orlando?

christmas orland0Here I am again at 38,000 feet only this time I’ll be landing in about 3 feet of snow. And while some things change, some things stay the same so while I’m heading in another direction I’m doing it all the while listening to my old friend Brandie. Truth be told it’s not so surprising since she’s all I’ve got on iTunes. Keeps life simple and decisions easy. And you know how I like simple things. Which is why I was pretty happy to be attending a conference in Orlando because, to be frank, I anticipated that a city full of people who lust after a little mouse would be the perfect setting for the shallow blog. Surely I would find plenty to write about in a town where you can explore everything from Space to the Holy Land, replete with gift shops.

But a funny thing happened while I was there. From the get go it became clear that there was more here than meets the eye. I mean how often is it that you find yourself in a deep and engaging conversation with your Master’s prepared server at the local sports bar? And how about those taxi drivers! Each and every one of them had a story to tell and tell it they did. Like the fellow from Haiti who longed for the peace and solitude of his home in the mountains, the one where all of his buddies came to visit each afternoon and where he never had to lock his doors at night. Or yet another Haitian who, halfway through the ride realizing he had forgot to turn on the meter, suggested I could pay him, or not. Because life was about more than making money and he so enjoyed our chat. Shallow? Not so much. Which is why, left with little choice, I decided my best bet would be to fall back on my tried and true “things I learned at the conference” (now Part 1 of 2) since I did learn some things at this one too. Without further ado, and because I know you are anxious to know what I know, here they are.

Things I learned at the conference (Part 2 of 2)

  1. Disney in the rain isn’t the happiest place on earth. I know that for sure because, if it were, my hair would have stayed straight.
  2. Germans, if I may be so bold to say, don’t like American beer. Now that I think about it, even most Americans don’t like American beer.
  3. If you only put half your face on your business cards people will think you are more attractive than you really are. This, my friends, is a scientific fact having something to do with symmetry, but I won’t go into that here. Still, it makes me wonder if the same would hold true for the rest of the body.
  4. Sharing hotel swimming pools with resident ducks just doesn’t seem to me to be a “good thing”despite the fact that good things often come in small packages.
  5. Conference presenters need to stop apologizing for making bad slides. Just stop making them.
  6. It’s not all bad when the people beside you on the plane fall asleep. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s even better.
  7. Talking to strangers in the airport just might result in an offer for a ride home. Before you accept you probably want to make sure they’re not too strange.
  8. Apparently I never get tired of listening to Ms. Carlile. But most of you knew that already.
  9. A cursory glance at the people walking the streets of Orlando leads me to conclude that it’s painfully clear many American restaurants serve portions that are way too large. Oh dear! Was that my outside voice?
  10. No matter how many decorations are put up, lights made to flash or songs played, without snow it will never really feel like Christmas in Orlando.

In case you are wondering I learned some other stuff at the conference too, most of it related to things I do during my days at work. But you’re not really interested in that, are you.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Meet Me at the Meet-Up

coffee_shop_smallIt’s a funny thing when something you don’t think about much suddenly crosses your path not once, but over and over again. I’m sure it has happened to you. You go about your life, minding your own business, with nothing particularly remarkable or out of the ordinary happening from one day to the next, just the “same old, same old” stuff. Next thing you know you’re reading the newspaper and your eye catches a small article on the bottom left hand corner of the page, the one with the full page ad your bank has placed to let you know how diligent they are about saving you money while you wonder why they had to spend all that money to let you know when a simple robo-call would have sufficed. The following day you’re on the bus avoiding eye contact with everyone, because who really wants to admit, even to themselves that they are on the bus, and you start reading the placards from front to back and there it is again. The last straw comes when you log into your most recent MOOC (did I mention I finally passed my Harvard course?) and lo and behold, there it is again and you’re convinced that not only is this a significant trend but maybe even a movement (thanks Arlo) and you better get down to business and start writing about it before someone else does. And that’s how we got here.

Let me start by saying that as a shallow person I’m not one for joining much of anything, especially not things that would put me into close contact with a whole bunch of people I don’t know. So as I write about this apparently new phenomenon I will put my bias on the table and admit upfront that the whole thing is not really something I can subscribe too or even understand. But it is what it is and, like Twitter, just because I don’t do it doesn’t mean it’s not happening and shouldn’t find its way to the Shallow Blog. Which is why, in case you haven’t already heard, I want to tell you about “Meet-Ups”, which are no longer “run of the mill” get togethers, you know, the kind you used to have with people you actually knew. No, these are special get togethers, and like much else in our overly connected world, have been redefined as “a meeting, especially a regular meeting of people who share a particular interest and have connected with each other through a social-networking Web site” (dictionary.com). And that’s the key. No longer do you just call up a couple of friends, people you have known and loved for who knows how long, to meet at the local coffee-shop and talk about whatever it is friends talk about. Nope. Now you go to your local “Meet-Up” website, find an aptly named group with a rather singular focus that interests you, determine if they are accepting new members and, if they are, if you are an acceptable new member, signup, check the calendar for the next meeting, put it in your calendar and finally, make your way to the designated site (ironically, usually a coffee shop of some sort) where, hopefully, there will be more than one other person with whom you can meet because otherwise, it seems to me, you’d have been just as well to have stayed home. You might also want to keep your fingers crossed that when you get to the ascribed location that there is a sign or something on the designated table as otherwise I fear you will be walking up to numerous groups of people you don’t know in an effort to find the right people you don’t know.

In case you think this is just some passing fad, a fleeting moment in time, have a look around the internet for Meet-Ups in your local area and I can assure you, having done extensive research for this blog, you will find no shortage of options from which to choose. In my area alone there must be a couple of hundred Meet-Ups covering an astounding array of topics. For example, there’s the “Libertarian Meet-Up” which I find a little confusing as what the heck are they doing forming an organization of like minded folks? The “Jesus, Ice Cream and Beer Group” is intriguing but makes me wonder whether you have to like all of those things to join or if you can just pick one. The “Church Thing Group“, while the name at first glance may appear a little vague, is more specific with their objective to “try to figure God out”. If you join this one I’m afraid you may be in for the long haul. And you might want to stay clear of the “Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics Meet-Up” as I would hate to think what might happen should the two groups actually find themselves meeting up. Unlike the “Gardening, Vegetarian and Vegan Meet-Up” who could get together with the “Pagan Meet-Up” to form the “Pagan, Vegans”. There’s the “Emotion’s Anonymous Group” which is dedicated to getting people together to work out their emotional difficulties. Nice, but I would think this one could get a little depressing. Of course there are a whole bunch of groups that focus on achieving financial success and if I had to chose one to attend it would probably be the “Abundance and Cashflow Group” as I figure that’s my best shot at snagging a free coffee.

All this talk about Meet-Ups got me to thinking that there could be some value in organizing a “Shallow Meet-Up“. People could get together at their local coffee shop and sit around talking about stuff like how the guy cutting his nails in the next cubicle is really annoying, or who should or shouldn’t win the next season of “America’s Got Talent”, or how difficult it is to get a “no foam” latte made correctly, or maybe even about this blog. People can self-identify as shallow and just about anyone who wants to join is more than welcome. It would be very “Seinfeldesque” although that group just “met up” without having to organize a Meet-Up. The more I think about it the more convinced I am that it could work. And, if it does, it would be great if you could drop me a line to let me know how it goes.

A little something extra: To my friends in Southern Alberta, and especially those in High River, we are thinking about you all of the time. I hope this blog can bring a smile to your face, even if it’s just for a moment.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What you see is not always what you get

Just got off the treadmill where I was thinking, mostly because besides watching AGT (America’s Got Talent for those of you who are not fans) that’s what you do on the treadmill. You think. And since most of my spare time now is spent writing this blog I started to think about my last post and in particular, my assertion that when it comes to shallow people, “what you see is what you get”. I am nothing if not a woman of my word but in retrospect I find myself having to qualify that statement, as for most of my life I have been placed in the regrettable position of letting people know that what they see is not always what they get. As it happens, it would appear that I have an uncanny resemblance to someone better known than I and as a result I spend a good deal of my time convincing complete strangers I am not who they think I am. The conversation usually goes like this:

Complete Stranger: “Do you know who you look like?”
Me: “Angelina Jolie?”
Complete Stranger: “No! Has anyone ever told you that you look like Barbra Streisand?”
Me (with blank stare): “Who? I’ve never heard of her. What does she do?” (Cut me some slack here…it’s the 10,000th time!)
Complete Stranger: “She’s a famous singer. Oh right. You’re kidding. OMG! Are you Barbra Streisand?”
Me: “No, I’m not”

Not the most riveting verbal exchange and I have a funny feeling that had Angelina Jolie really been my double the conversation would end there. But Babs (I think I have earned the right to call her that) is somewhat more ambiguous. So while at this stage of the game I am pretty much tapped out of things to say, most people feel compelled to continue with, somewhat apologetically I might add, something to the effect of “well I think she’s beautiful.”  Which most often leaves me with the distinct impression that theirs is a rather unique opinion not shared by the general population.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bothered by any of this. Over time I have developed an affinity for Ms. Streisand, her voice, her disposition and yes, even her looks. Not to mention the benefits I have reaped. Like the time I was checking into my hotel and the concierge, who was convinced I was a frequent patron he knew very well even though I assured him I had never previously been to this establishment, not only personally delivered my bags to my room but actually handed back the tip, insisting that it was his pleasure to be of service to me. Honestly? Do ordinary people get treated that way? I should think not.

But I digress. While I have become accustomed to these rather frequent interactions there is one aspect that I have to admit has puzzled me, because in all my years on this earth I have never felt the urge to approach a complete stranger and ask them if they know who they look like. So why, I ask myself, do so many people do this to me? The only logical explanation I can come up with is that even though they realize the chance of running into Babs at the Target check-out counter is on par with winning the lottery, they would just kick themselves if they were wrong and had passed up their one chance in a lifetime to say hello to “Dolly”.

I try to let them down easy, try not to disappoint. But once in awhile, even the luckiest people in the world have to face the stark reality that what they see is not always what they get. I just wish it wasn’t me that had to rain on their parade.

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: