The coffee cup that showed me I wasn’t the only person in the world

It was a busy Thursday morning in London, and I hadn’t slept very well the night before.

So, it only made sense to pick up a super-charged coffee on my way to work.

I didn’t have time to browse my options too much and, like it or not, I settled onĀ  Starbucks.

It was near and it was easy. (Although usually those aren’t my key drivers for making most decisions in life!)

As anyone who’s ever set foot in a Starbucks in the last ten years will know they’re still continuing with the whole ‘make it personal’ thing by asking you with for your name.

I don’t really like my name all that much (but, if I changed it I’d have one less thing to complain about, and I need my go-tos) – yet, as creative as I think I am, I can never think up another name in time… so I end up going with the one I was born with, ‘Ashley’.

It was a busy day in this particular Starbucks but I’m British, so I’m good at queuing and was able to persevere.

(Which makes me think, as much as I was wholly against it myself, why are so many of the British people who voted leave complaining about how long it’s taking to initiate Brexit… aren’t they supposed to love waiting and queuing to do something!?)

Eventually the barista sang out my name and, with flushed cheeks, I head over and collected my steam beverage.

I had just gotten outside the door when I heard an American voice shouting ‘Wait! Wait!’

I turned round to see that an irate-looking woman with red hair had chased me out of the cafe.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Is your name Ashley?” she bellowed back.

“Er…yeah…why?” I answered.

“It’s definitely Ashley?” she reiterated.

I confirmed and, with a tut, she hurried off. I thought about going after her to find out what that was all about but, one thing I’ve learnt since living in London, is that a lot of weird things happen and you’d waste valuable time trying to work each one out.

The tube station was next to the Starbucks, and I was just about to head through the turnstiles and into the tunnel when the same woman appeared next to me.

“Sorry about that!” she exclaimed, “my name’s Ashley too. I always pre-order my Starbucks and I was worried you’d walked off with it”.

There are 7.6 billion people in the world.

8.7 people in London alone.

And yet, we still think we’re the only person in the world at times.

I know I do it too.

But, according to Google, there are 212 people (in the UK alone) with my same exact first name and last name as me.

It’s worth keeping this mind as we try to understand each others’ perspectives. Whether we be trying to get a message across to someone, or trying to sell something.

We’re all unique. No one’s an island.

(If anyone cares, the Starbucks in the right of the featured picture is the exact Starbucks it happened in!)

The coffee cup that stopped everyone

I was on the bus travelling home this afternoon.

I climbed to the top deck and chose an empty seat.

I found one that I thought looked good, but as I got closer I noticed that there was a discarded coffee cup on the seat.

So, I did the easy thing – walked past it and chose another seat.

I began to notice that everyone else did the same as me.

That one empty coffee cup stood in everyone’s way and everyone walked past it.

Eventually the top deck of the bus filled up.

Then more people got on.

But instead of moving the cup they either went back downstairs or stood.

Finally, a tall man in a long grey jacket got on the bus.

He walked through the aisle, saw the seat and, with a deft flick of his right hand, moved the coffee cup away.

He sat down and enjoyed the rest of his journey in comfort.

How often in life do we take the easiest way possible?

Are the obstacles that stop our progress as bad as we think they are?

You’ve got a rocket in your pocket (kind of)

Goals are hard to achieve.

We all set them, we all try and chase them…but, we don’t always meet them.

Our own limitations tend to hold us back.

Yet, we’re so advanced now as a society that we really don’t have the limitations we think we have.

Take your smartphone for example.

Did you know that your smartphone is millions of times more powerful than the supercomputers that NASA used to land on the moon in 1969?

And to think…you probably just use it to swipe right on Tinder or choose a beautiful filter for your super-green, wholefood salad.

In fact, if you have a pocket calculator on your desk that’s more powerful too. So is a simple USB stick…

In terms of technology our limitations become broader all the time.

But our brains still keep us more grounded than we need to be.

You’re the only one who can broaden the self-imposed limitations that your brain sets for you. Go do some good shit.

Ashley Brown 2018

Sometimes you need to be able to smell raw sewage

At Christmas time I took a walk through Oxford Street to hunt for presents.

It looked impressive, even for someone who doesn’t like that kind of thing.

Everywhere was lit up, Christmas trees abound.

The people were also happier than usual – particularly for London. Excited children were chattering away – telling their parents exactly what they wanted for the big day.

Potential consumerism and capitalism narrative aside, everything looked perfect.

If an alien had landed on Oxford Street at that point in time, they’d have thought we were a happy bunch who made everything look pretty.

But, then, as I rounded a corner I was hit by an overpowering stench – there was a problem with the sewers and, let me tell you, it smelt rancid.

There’s something about the sudden smell of the sewers that reminds you how real life is. And how, no matter how much we dress everything up, we’re all just human and the world isn’t perfect.

And, I think it’s important to smell it from time to time, just to remember that we’re in a bubble and that we need to keep our feet on the ground.

Sorry for such a shit post..(couldn’t resist)

The quickest way

I’m sure you have this too…but, whenever I ask someone for directions, they’ll usually start their reply with:

“The quickest way is…”

I always wonder why they think I’m in a rush?

Im starting to think that it’s all about the journey.

Too often I’ve missed things en route because I’ve been fixed on the quickest way to the destination.

2018. The year of enjoying the journey.