~ Sunday I was typing away, working on a number of different papers, when a woman rushed over to my table at the coffee house, “Did you just see THAT?!” she said
Apparently, the one of the women sitting in the group of four middle aged women, who had been sitting next to me for the better part of two hours, left the coffee shop with a “BOOM”. She had walked over to the display case that shelves a bunch of café themed T-shirts and whatnot, grabbed a bunch of T-shirts, stuffed them under her jacket, and walked out of the café.
I was lost in my writing and hadn’t seen a thing, but the other patrons had all seen the theft, and since there are security cameras all over the place, it wasn’t difficult to identify the culprit responsible for the crime.
Most fascinating regarding the crime is the conversation that ensued afterwards. As with so many of my coffee house experiences, I was sitting there all by my lonesome doing my own thing, yet following the crime I now had three people who were congregating at my table which had become the center of conversation for the great coffee house caper of November 2014.
People want to connect. I’ve written ad nausea about the desire within our nature to connect with fellow human beings. Yet so many people simply don’t know how to strike up conversations with strangers; hell, a lot of people don’t even know how to strike up conversations with loved ones. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t see a couple on a date, a married couple, or a parent and their child, sitting in silence not really knowing what to say to each other.
Conversation is fast becoming a lost art. Back in the days of The Culture Monk’s youth, my father was a big proponent of teaching his children how to talk. He would sit us in the living room and hold mock conversations; we had to pretend we were strangers meeting each other for the first time. My Uncle Bob used to say, “Practice, practice, practice; it’s not just for football players”.
Conflict can be a positive tool. The theft of the merchandise gave the people at coffee something to talk about. It opened them up to breaking the ice between my lonesome self-sitting there at coffee. I suspect there is a propensity within our nature to be afraid of conflict. After all, conflict isn’t always easy to navigate. But conflict can be a positive tool in learning how to talk in greater depth with each other.
Talking with our children, loved ones, and friends about conflicting situations and ideas can be a great way to begin having deeper conversations; it can help us to move beyond staring at our cell phones and engaging our fellow humans in meaningful conversation.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society