Tag Archives: Philosophy

Everyday Wisdom: Diner Edition

One of my customers told me today, in so many words, that it’s only when you stop getting excited by the world around you that you start getting old.
And, I just thought that that was something important enough to be shared with you.



Filed under Odds&Ends

An Argument Against Simplicity

For anyone who has ever questioned the intrinsically chaotic and innately complex nature of the universe, I challenge you one day to walk into a coffee shop, and order a drink. 

So much could be said from that one choice alone, but for now we’ll leave it be.

Star Coffee Wanghin

Star Coffee Wanghin (Photo credit: aeroppon)

Once you’ve ordered, I’d ask you to take a seat.  Find some small little corner you can tuck yourself away in for a while, where you can see and hear the rest of the shop around you.  Now wait.  Enjoy your drink and wait until it gets busy.  Wait until people have queued themselves up before the register in a line long enough to wind through half the building at least.  Wait until they’ve gotten their own drinks and found their own seats.

Then, I’d ask that you merely take a look around, and listen.  No doubt, if your coffee shop is anything like my own, music will be playing loud enough that you can make out a beat but still too soft to ever possibly determine the words.  You’ll hear the grinding of coffee beans and the scrape of a metal scoop against ice, and the call of the barista behind the counter announcing when a new drink is done. Then, though you’ll have no hope of hearing anything properly intelligible, you’ll hear a sort of collective humming that comes from the collision of the voices of every other person sitting around you.

Now if you were in a book, they would all be dismissed with something as simple as “And then he/she/it/they walked into a crowded coffee shop”.  And’ if you were in a movie every noise about you would be written off as “COLLECTIVE MURMERS” or “THE THRUM OF VOICES” and you would finish your drink and leave and then that would be the end of it.

But not today. When you sit in that little coffee shop with your drink of choice, I want you to look around at everyone else in there and realize that they are all as intricate and as special and as beautiful as you are.  In short, they too are human.

I want for you to let that sink in for a moment.  Because they aren’t background characters, they aren’t a busy coffee shop, or a thrum.  They are people, and they are just as complex as you are. 

Busy Coffeeshop

Busy Coffeeshop (Photo credit: Kevin H.)

They’ve all had parents that they love, and argue with, and despise.  They go home still for holidays and they’ve lost touch with those they used to love, and some of them never celebrated anything anyway so why does it matter really in the end.  They’ve all owned dogs, and cats, and hamsters, and have wanted horses, and never liked their aunt’s parrot   They have a favorite colour, and it’s probably not the colour of the shirt they’re wearing.  They have a favorite season too, and a favorite Month, and Holiday, and day of the week, and animal for certain.  They grew up struggling with allergies, and asthma, and insecurity, and bullies.  They have loved and lost and probably loved again, because they can smile and laugh and cry and scream, and they have.  Believe me they have done all of that a thousand times over.  They work dead-end jobs, or have careers, but either way they have dreams and ambitions.  They’ve fought over money, and over love, and over someone’s inability to listen to them, and they’ve come out stronger or weaker and always changed.

If this were a movie or a book, they would all be written off as nerds, and scholars, and preps, and jocks, and hipsters, and cranky old people and bratty little kids, but only if they were important enough to be written in at all.  But they are important.  They were all born and one day they will all die, and that is because they are human.  They are messy, imperfect, contradictory, complicated, confusing, and human.

And the only thing I can hope to say after all of that, is this: If so much complexity can be found in something as small and arguably simple as a coffee shop, because really one coffee shop has to be simple when compared to even just the whole world, then how can the universe possibly be anything less than chaotically and extraordinary complicated?

-A.N. King

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Filed under Thoughts on Things