What to write on any given day for me is like what I imagine what to wear to a social gathering is to women. Social gatherings are easy for men. Casual – anything that doesn’t garner a “you’re not wearing that” from your wife. Business causal, khakis and your blue blazer. Kinda-sorta formal or black tie optional, dark gray suit. Social gatherings for women – I don’t know where to start but it will end with “I don’t have the right shoes!”
I have lots of ideas tucked away in EverNote. Some are nothing more than a few words, some are practically a working draft, but I have to be in the mood to finish them. I look forward to Saturdays because I know that if I can’t figure out what to write, Linda will nudge me with the SoCS prompt.
Except this week she hit us with:
“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “mind.” Use it any way you think to. Have fun!”
Mind? Seriously? Sigh.
As fast as I could think of subjects, my mind cut me off at the proverbial pass. The way people ask “do you mind?” to disarm you from saying no to a request. I don’t want to write about that because I usually don’t mind at all. Then I thought of the times I do mind. It struck me that there’s a range of “mindiness” that I could talk about and even draw a diagram to illustrate. I liked that because I love drawing those diagrams. I wish I could draw better, but…
One of the least mindy things that happens to me is when people ask if I can take their picture. When Faith and I climbed Mt. Monadnock recently, a guy asked if I could take a picture (with his camera) of him and his wife. No problem. How could you mind? Later, I asked a different guy if he would take a picture of Faith and me – he didn’t mind either.
My favorite story about these types of photos is when Faith and I were on a ferry across Puget Sound from Whidbey Island to the Olympic Peninsula. I took a picture of Faith and a German man asked me if I wanted him to take a picture of both of us. Faith was a little grumpy about having had to get up extra early for the ferry (I’ll let her tell that story). The guy was trying to get us to smile, and finally asked: “you two are traveling together aren’t you?”
Staying with photos, I don’t usually mind when people ask me if they can use a photo of mine in a blog, or even in a presentation. I absolutely mind when they use them without asking. I once asked a used equipment dealer if I could use a photo in a blog post called “Redefining Impossible.” He was very nice and agreed, didn’t seem to mind at all.
Next up in the scale, staying away from any questions I might get from my wife (I never mind doing those things) we come to the questions around seats. “Do you mind if I squeeze in here?” at a crowded bar. “Would you mind moving down one so we could sit together?” at not quite as crowded a bar but with only single stools available. Switching seats on an airplane so couples can sit together. I wrote about this before.
Next in line, I would put giving someone a ride. Depending on how close the ride is to my destination, my response would vary from not minding at all to minding-a-tiny-little-bit-but-not-really. I give people visiting our office rides to the airport all the time. I live in the town with the airport. I have walked home from the airport. Nothing to mind there. Actually, I don’t mind giving people rides almost anywhere.
I once picked up a hitchhiker on an on ramp to I-91. I was only going one exit, but he only had one leg, it was raining and he was standing next to a broken-down van. I ended up giving him a ride to New Haven, CT, about 45 minutes away because, you know, one leg, rain, sad story and everything.
One other time, I got off the train in Windsor Locks and the woman in front of me turned and asked: “where are the cabs?” I almost laughed. There are no cabs. Windsor Locks is a sleepy little town with nothing to attract tourists. Her flight out of New York had been canceled and they put her on a train to BDL (the airport in Windsor Locks) so she assumed there would be a way to get from the train station to the airport. I mentioned that my wife was picking me up and that we could give her a ride. Happy tourist.
So far, nothing in my illustration gives it any sense of scale. I don’t seem to mind anything. Wait, in that post about switching seats on a plane is a story about when a guy tried to get me to take the middle seat instead of my aisle seat. Yeah, I mind that. That’s over the red line for sure.