Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Marshmallow Challenge

Good morning! Or is it? I had an early morning PT session with Tank and when I arrived at 7:20 (am....), the receptionist told me that I did not have an appointment and he was not in. Hmmm.....Did I screw up? Did she? Does it matter? Uh, yeah....
A. I got up early
B. It was really cold out
C. I did not accomplish my goal
D. I was humbled....

What was "D"? Well, as a little treat to myself for getting up early and making it to PT on time, I stopped at the local Starbucks on the way home to pick up a grande Pike. Generally, this is no big deal, since I have access to an abundance of coins in the change jar in dad's office, but today was different.....

Let's go back a bit to the tennis days....(fade to history). Not so long ago, dad and I joined a club to play tennis and golf. The golf club was joined as a business thing but I had the pleasure of playing tennis on real courts whenever I wanted to. In the old days, I would wait with Fred until the people playing on the public courts were finished. It could be a few minutes or a few hours. It taught me patience and gave me a longing for when I did not have to wait in line. Anyway, now that we belong to this club, all I have to do is log in to the website and reserve a court. Now, that is a sweet deal. Oh, by the way, there is water on the court, cups, and shade. When I am finished, I can go to the tennis shack and buy a gator ade or if I am bold, I can pick up a beer (which I never do since beer is gross).

With this information as the background, whenever I would play at the club, I would meet new people or see some of the old ones. I never really stayed to chat after a game since I always worked. However, there are other women whose husbands or families enabled them to either work part time or not at all. Some would say that these women had it all....although....

As I stopped to grab my Pike, I saw at the cash register, one of the women who is/was a club member who always stayed afterwards to chat and relax....now she worked at Starbucks working the register. She looked at me and seemed to be mortified, although I am not sure why because my dream has always been to be a barrista at the coffee shop making cappuccinos and pouring coffee.... Kind of like Sam Malone in Cheers except there is no booze, just caffeine. However, the look in her eye was alarming, so I had a choice....do I make conversation or do I pretend not to know her? I had 5 people in front of me to figure it out and with her finesse at the cash register, the line went quickly.

So, I was at a crossroads....the look in her eye was 'ignore me', yet in my heart, I wanted to say hello. And so, I made the decision. When I got to the front of the line, I looked her in the eye as if I did not know her, gave her my order, thanked her profusely with a smile, and left a big tip. Did I do the right thing?

Actually, I think that I did because she smiled back but did not acknowledge that we knew each other. As odd as this encounter was, I could see that she had sunk to a place where she did not want to go and she was not wearing a wedding ring which also told me that this job was not to play barrista but to pay the bills. As such, I took my coffee home and considered all of my blessings including the big guy who works 7 days a week, leaves the house before 7 am, and comes home between 7 and 8 at night. He does all of this to take care of his family and despite his grumpiness on multiple occasions, he is taking care of his family the best way that he can.

With that said, I drank my coffee and considered going back to this Starbucks for two reasons. She works a great register and the line is the fastest in the region....and to see the barrista with the coolest eyes I have ever seen. Honestly, I have no idea what this guy looks like because all I see are his eyes which are a combination of blue and green. They look like the ocean....not the one in Jersey but in the south where you can see to the bottom.....I have never seen eyes like this before and they look right through a person. Don't get any weird ideas...this is a college kid....but he has the most amazing eyes I have ever seen. I doubt if an artist could duplicate this unique color. And, the answer to the next question is 'no, they are not bloodshot like mine.'

Ok, and so I have a class this afternoon with a group of students who are traditional college age. At yesterday's department meeting, we had a conversation about the millenial generation and how they seem to not care or tune into class. Although I thought that it was only my class, the other faculty members concurred that they are not connected to the group. I have a student who sleeps in class. This does nothing for my self esteem. I also have students who cut class and do not seem to be able to focus on what I am saying.

I attribute this to being digital natives in which they are not connected to anyone except through texting and social media. It's funny, because I will call the kids and they will not answer the phone, yet I will text them and get an immediate response. Call me crazy, but I do worry about the lack of communication skills in this group and the inability to work as a member of a team. Therefore, today, we are going to take the 'marshmallow challenge". The class will be divided into 4 teams and given 24 pieces of spaghetti, tape, string, and a marshmallow. They have 20 minutes to build the tallest tower using all of the tools. They must work together to achieve their goals which may prove to be difficult with this group. Hopefully, once the challenge is over, they will see how effective working in teams can be or what they have to work on to be successful in the workplace.

OK, I gotta get to the food store to pick up my marshmallows. Have a great day!

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