So since I no longer have internet at home, I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur of free wi-fi zones, alternately known as “a vagabond with an expensive laptop”. I usually tend to alternate between the library, a few coffee shops, and the train station, and I have specific guidelines about what makes for a good place: it should be relatively quiet & empty, it should have lots of power outlets that people don’t mind me plugging into, and the people shouldn’t get cross with me when I’m there for eight hours and only buy a coffee. (Though admittedly, I try to buy a coffee at least every three or four hours, as I’m sure it counts as a utility expense.)
The Keshen Goodman library is one of my favourites, but wow, have libraries ever changed since I was a kid. Of course the card catalogues are long gone, but now the library is full of loud, obnoxious high school students play-fighting and giggling away in the study carrels. Whatever happened to libraries being akin to a place of worship, where you’d be shushed for speaking above a whisper?
At any rate, I was amazed to discover that not only is it totally kosher to eat in the library, but they also have a little cafe in the corner, which is actually rather lovely if you’re making a twelve-hour-day of it. Every day it’s the same girl working there, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her crack a smile, not once. I usually try to be excessively polite and friendly to people working service jobs (God knows I’ve had my share!), but she never once cracked. Today, though, as I went for my usual can of Diet Coke, there was a new girl working. It took her about five minutes and some outside help to figure out what I wanted, and then another minute or so to ring it in, but she smiled and seemed human!
As I trotted off with my caffeinated beverage, I thought to myself, “Well, the other one was more competent, but I like this one so much more.” (I suspect that when I was working service jobs myself, I was the efficient-but-snarly server.)
Clearly, this is a lesson I ought to take to heart, and start applying to my own life and business.