3 June, 2004 2:53 PM
And The Rhythm Of Life is a powerful beat, Puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet...
I've been conducting a little experiment at 9am every morning for the past 4 months. It involves a short walk, an investment of $2.50 per day and a great coffee.
The experiment - to see what would happen if I intentionally placed myself in the same place (a local cafe) at the same time (9am) every day (I have to miss one or two occasionally, but its rare).
Its been an interesting experiment so far. I guess I'm doing it to help me reflect upon 'mission' and 'engagement with culture', but its also teaching me a lot about human nature (and myself).
The cool thing about being at the same place at the same time for 120 days in a row is that you find that you're not as unique as you might think. You see there are a number of other people whose daily rhythms intersect with mine at that time most days of the week. Some of them are paid to be there (staff) but quite a few are not.
The interesting thing for me is to watch the way in which we 'regulars', who share 30 or so minutes in this common space each day, interact with one another. There is something of an unspoken camaraderie emerging between us.
Cafes in Australia are not very interactive spaces (we go to the pub to interact with strangers - cafes are for quite chats with friends or silent times alone with a book or paper). However I'm finding that in the past few weeks the interactions I'm having are becoming more regular, longer and on a deeper level.
They have progressed from sideways glances, nods and smiles to knowing names, asking about weekends and chats about life and even faith one one occasion. This last weekend V and I even went to see one of the waiter's band play in a local club.
This may not seem (and probably isn't) that remarkable - but for me it is a new experience.
I'm not sure it comes across here in my writing, but I'm an introvert. In fact when I do personality tests they often come back indicating that I'm an off the chart introvert. As a result I find meeting complete strangers something that is a little out of my comfort zone (I'd rather extract my own teeth with a hammer and chisel). It isn't that I don't like people - I'm quite fine at having a conversation with someone that I know - its just the meeting of new people that is a little freaky.
Nothing amazing has happened yet with any of the people I see each day - maybe nothing will - but I'm amazed at the opportunities that have opened up to meet some great new people as a result of disciplining myself to establishing a new rhythm and by being open to meeting others whose lives will intersect with mine as a result.