So I had just finished lunch yesterday. A friend and I went to this new bagel shop in town. It is underneath a movie theater I like to go to, next to a game center. The game center has a small place outside where people can sit and smoke, because there is not smoking allowed inside. The problem is that most of the people that go to the game center are Junior High School students, so I think they take the outside smoking area as an invitation to light up. As a result, whenever we leave the bagel shop to go upstairs to the movie theater, we have to pass through a gang of chain smoking 14 year olds, trying their hardest to look dangerous.
One thing I like about the bagel shop is that they make a wide variety of bagel sandwiches, and even stuff that isn’t on the menu, they will make as a special order. Some places only know how to make what is on the menu. That is one of the reasons that it’s my favorite bagel shop, is because they are really flexible. They aren’t limited to whatever decision somebody made before on what kind of menu they should have. They have the awesome ability to look at all your resources, and combine them in whatever combination the customer asks. It doesn’t matter if it’s never been done before, or if they think it is strange, or unusual. They have made the decision to be completely open minded, and as a result, their business has been able to consistently make more money, and attract more people to come and eat in their bagel shop.
So as we were leaving, (I had just finished a peanut butter, fried egg and tomato and cheese on toasted onion) we were walking up the steps to the movie theater. I saw this older gentlemen that looked strangely familiar. I’m sure you’ve had this happen before (seeing a familiar face, not eating a peanut butter, fried egg, tomato and cheese bagel), right? Except that I wasn’t quite sure where I’d seen him before, or even if I knew his name.
I once had the embarrassing situation of seeing a girl I was sure I recognized from a social situation, so I walked up and starting talking to her as if we were long time friends. She looked a little taken aback. I didn’t realize until about halfway through the conversation that I actually recognized her from where I take my shirts to be cleaned, and I’d never exchanged any words with her before. Turns out that she owns the shop with her husband, and she was wondering why one of her many customers was talking to her like she was an old friend. That is an awkward situation to be in, as once realized my social blunder, I had quickly and painlessly extricate myself from the conversation, the whole time trying to look l knew what I was doing. It was a while before I felt comfortable enough to go back to her dry cleaners. She must think I’m some kind of kook or something.
So as I was mentally scratching my head, he was looking at me with the same look of half realization and half “who are you?” when he got a sudden burst of realization in his eyes. I was relieved, as he was going to be the one to explain how we knew each other, so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself again.
“You!” he said.
“Yep, me.” I smiled.
“It really is you!” He said again.
I smiled again.
“How’ve you been?” He asked, clapping me on the shoulder. He was alone.
“Pretty good. Pretty good. Yourself?” I responded. Waiting for some information.
“Oh, same as usual. Before we left last time, there was something I wanted to tell you.”
“Oh?” I asked. This ought to be interesting.
What I wanted to tell you was about that thing you are thinking of doing. I know you aren’t sure if it will work out or not, or if you will be completely successful, but don’t let that stand in your way. You need to really focus on your dreams, and not let others stand in your way. That’s what I wanted to tell you. Many people will tell you not to go ahead with what you want to do, but the reality of the situation is that they are really afraid. And although most people will try and tell you that they are trying to look out for your best interests, don’t listen to them. They are really just imaging themselves in your shoes, trying to do what it is that you are going to do, and it scares them. Most people want an easy, comfortable life, where they don’t have to risk anything. And here you come along, telling them of all your dreams and plans, and it makes them nervous. So they tell you their own fears and anxieties, but they dress them up to make it sound like they are really concerned about you. Don’t let yourself be influenced by others fears. The sum of most people’s lives is just an obedience to their fears. Don’t listen. Just smile, nod your head, say thank you and go on your way.
I was shocked. I don’t remember ever telling anybody my secret plans, but here this stranger (I still don’t know who he was) was telling me exactly what I needed to hear.
It’s cool when something like this comes out of nowhere to inspire you.