I was taking a stroll down the street the other day, just kind of meandering in the direction towards my eventual destination. I had a few hours to get there, and even longer before I had to be back. The weather was pretty nice, not as humid as it had been lately, and temperature had luckily dipped a little bit. It’s always nice when you have a day like this. You are certain you will eventually get to your destination, and you are just as certain that your destination will hold for you exactly what it is that you need right now, whatever that might be.
Something kind of cool usually happens to me when I’m in this state of mind. I can somehow release all anxieties and really pay attention to the stuff that is happening around me. The sounds of every day life that you usually miss out on because of what worrying thoughts are running around in your head become more colorful and endearing. The smells that are always drifting around become more salient and observable. The colors and movements of objects usually only assigned by your unconscious to your peripheral vision become center stage and fight for your conscious attention.
I happened across a group of kids talking about something. They seemed to be really animated about the subject, so I slowed my pace to listen to them speak. They were talking about some new superhero movie that was coming out, and seemed to be comparing it to the comic book. There appeared to be one group that was arguing that the movie was much better, while the other, less enthusiastic group seemed to feel that the movie didn’t capture the true essence of the characters as described in the comic books. They seemed to be less enthusiastic in their arguments and position, but it was a position that I seemed to agree with, don’t ask me why, so I found a reason to stick around and find out more. You know how when that happens, right? You are wandering around, minding your own business, and you come across something, and you hear or read a little bit, and there is something here, maybe you’re not sure what, but you just feel this slight curiosity to find out a little bit more information. Perhaps it could be useful someday.
So I looked around, and I decided to grab an ice cream cone at this ice cream shop that I’d just passed. They had a few outside tables, and there were a couple vacant ones, so I went inside to get an ice cream. I hadn’t been inside a non-chain ice cream shop in a while, and I’d never been inside this particular one, so I was surprised at what I saw. They had many old-fashioned ice cream equipment parts that were used as part of the decoration on the inside. They seemed to have taken quite a lot of time decorating, and getting the ambiance just right. I realized that is the difference between a chain restaurant and a family owned shop. You can tell a really good family owned shop when you enter because you get a feeling right away it is a business that means more than just making money. When you can put your own personal interests and personality into a business, and sell something that is really important to you, you’ve really got something. Of course, in the whole scheme of things, ice cream is not that high of a priority, but in the people that owned this shop, they really took pride in something that they thought was important and had made a conscious decision to present it so people could feel their appreciation.
After looking around the shop, the shopkeeper gave me a full description of their most popular flavors. That’s another hallmark of a successful family run business, they can tell right away when a customer walks in if they are a new customer or a customer that comes there every day, or even the occasional customer. I had a feeling that if I came to this ice cream shop more than once they would be able to quickly ascertain all my likes and dislikes, so I would feel right at home in their wonderful little shop.
After having a protracted discussion with the proprietor, I finally settled on a peanut butter chocolate pecan mix. Single scoop in a waffle cone. When I found my way back outside, I realized I had completely forgotten about the kids arguing over the recent incarnation of their comic books hero’s. I looked around, and they were gone. Completely. Just as well, I hadn’t seen the movie yet, and I didn’t want to have my opinion tainted by some young zealots. It’s important to make up your own mind on these important issues.