July 16, 2008

Giving Off a Friendly Vibe

This evening I think I was giving off a friendly vibe. After hanging at my new favorite cafe in the Mission, La Boheme (great decaf Chai lattes, casual atmosphere, filled with creative types and always a place to find my friend Andrew), I headed down to 24th Street BART station and started tapping away on my crackberry. An older, professional looking man approached and asked if he could sit next to me. I made space and continued my crack addiction while he pulled out his crackberry and started looking over my shoulder. I didn't know what to make of his actions so I kept an eye on him and noticed that he was comparing his crackberry to mine.

"You're Blackberry is so sleek" he said.
"It is the newest one - I got it on Monday." I responded.
"Oh it is so nice. Mine is not so nice. It is too big. But it is for work so I have to carry it around."
"This is an addiction - you can keep getting the latest and greatest ones - just look at people going crazy over the iphone." I commented.
"Yeah, I guess this one works for me. Oh, gotta go, that's my train. Nice chatting with you." He reaches over and gives me a nice pat on the shoulder.

This guy didn't try to pinch (British term for stealing something) my crackberry, he didn't try to pick me up, he just wanted to chat about our technology.

Then I got on the train, took a seat and pulled out my new book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Chabon. The woman in the seat next to me said.
"Ooh, do you like the book?"
"Just started it, on page 11 and good so far."
"I'm reading Salomon Rushdie. His latest book is fantastic."

On and on went our conversation and it extended into clothing, mortgages, Victorian lifestyles, and Alameda - where we both happen to live. The woman offered me a ride home and I said yes. Well, should could have tried to kill me or something crazy but I decided to take the chance. We chatted the entire way.

It is still a reverse culture shock to have people be so friendly to me after my time in the UK, especially on London's Tube where even if the person next to you is reading the same book as you no conversation is made. I love that folks from the San Francisco Bay Area are eager to make small talk and get to know people. In the past I would have shied away but now I'm "living out loud" and trying to connect to people. Seems worth the effort.