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 on  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!)

Millions secretly watched…

After a busy day of work I arrived at my nearest tube station. As I walked towards the escalator I was hit by the following:

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And then, a few seconds later I saw:

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(excuse photo quality)

Then next it was:

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Thoughts danced around my head as to what it could be.

Was this some kind of media campaign?

Or, perhaps some conspiracy theorist had raised enough cash to buy tube adverts?

Whatever it was, these ads were so compelling because they felt like they could be real.

In fact, they feel like they are going to be real soon, if not already.

I noticed a lot of my fellow travellers were paying attention too.

Eventually I reached the escalator and saw that they were part of a campaign for the TV series ‘Black Mirror’.

Which, of course, makes complete sense in hindsight.

Now that’s good advertising.

‘The Way’

On my lunch break today I wandered over to a nearby market for some street grub.

Predictably enough, as it was a Friday lunchtime, it was packed.

Just as I was working out which stall to go to, I saw a whirl of motion somewhere in the crowd and watched as a guy drove his way through, burrito clasped firmly in his hand.

“Get out of the way, out of the way, out of the way” was all he kept saying to himself.

He annoyed everyone.

As he eventually disappeared I thought about that term. ‘The way’.

How often do we say it? That person got in the way, there was a car in the way, etc.

But, what we never think is that, quite often, our way isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

When writing to selling a product, for example, there’s a certain way we want the customer to go…a way that benefits us eventually.

But, to be successful, we need to make it the right way for the customer.

And, to do that, we need to keep in mind that ‘the way’ for us isn’t always ‘the way’ for everyone else.

Ashley Brown 2017

Need for Speed

Life’s a funny old thing.

One minute you’re in the slow lane, watching the same old sights trundle past.

Then, next thing you know your foot is firmly latched onto the accelerator and you’re going somewhere not so familiar.

Different scenery. Flashing by. Much faster.

But sometimes there’s a need for speed. Sometimes you need to crank yourself into top gear and hold on tight if you want to get somewhere.

Apologies, adoring public (ha), for the lack of posts recently. I’m changing jobs (into something much more creative) and changing city.

Once I’m fully set up in London I’ll be blogging regularly again.

Hey – who knows, my content might be fresher when inspired by different surroundings.

 

What I learnt from an all-night Disney marathon…

I think the last time I pulled an all-nighter was during the last few days before my final year University project had to be handed in.

How I remember those torturous hours of trying to be productive, while also using the library wifi to Netflix ‘Jonathan Creek’.

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But, it was worth it in the end.

On Friday night though, I turned up to the snazzy Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square for a Disney marathon. With my girlfriend. We arrived at about 9pm, and didn’t leave until 8am.

I did it though. Didn’t sleep a wink and watched every minute of every flick. I’d seen nearly all of them as a kid – but here’s what I noticed about each one as an adult:

Alice in Wonderland:

I always think that weirdness is more of a modern thing – but that’s clearly not true.

This film is perhaps the most accurate representation of how a dream (or nightmare!) plays out that I’ve ever seen. Also, the Queen of Hearts – what a pain in the arse.

The Jungle Book:

I loved this as a kid. And when ‘the bare necessities’ came on – everyone in the cinema was singing and clapping. It’s great how fond and nostalgic we are of our childhood memories.

Also, as an adult, I now can’t help but relate to Bagheera! Trying to keep his cool, while organising troublesome people around a busy world! Anyone who has worked as a supervisor in a previous life will know that I mean.

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Lilo & Stitch:

Even as a kid those films where everything goes wrong the whole time used to jar me.

It hasn’t changed as an adult!

I didn’t enjoy this at the start – but, as it went on, I got more involved and I thought the FBI agent turned social worker was hilarious.

The Little Mermaid:

This was made in 1989 I think, but its attitudes to women are very, very dated.

Beauty and the Beast:

I loved this as a kid, and it brought back fond memories. How hilarious is Gaston!?

However as an adult, it seems crazy that the Beast is allowed to get away with falsely imprisoning someone just because they walked into his castle!

Aladdin:

I miss Robin Williams.

The Lion King:

I think the biggest thing to take away from this is to never, ever, ever, ever, trust your creepy uncle…

Also, you experience a kind of smugness when you go to an event like this and manage to stay awake. How I scorned upon the others who slept through most of the films.

Still…once I got on the bus back home, tiredness hit me like Mike Tyson. So maybe they were the real winners.