I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC and Boston. Whenever we traveled into the city, it was an adventure. As an adult, I’ve lived in the suburbs of Dallas and Denver. Everything except their clusters of skyscrapers seem like just more suburbia.
Chicago, on the other hand, is much more cosmopolitan. I encountered a different accent every time I asked for directions (which was very often, since I have a bad sense of direction). The commuter trains make a huge clatter as they zoom over your head. The high ratio of taxis to regular cars is second only to New York City.
And Chicago’s infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of sheer humanity, which reminded me a little of Nairobi.
My friend Becky, has a premise that “you can live anywhere.” She lives in Alva, Oklahoma, a town of around 25 people. So she does know about living “anywhere”! Becky unwittingly nudged me to think that my family and I could live in an exciting place like NYC or Chicago. But the educational options get more complicated in the heart of a real city.
Alas, we’ll stay in Denver’s suburbs.
I’ve always loved pens.
I just met Phil. He gave me a pen. (How cool is that?) He told me about the Levenger Store at Macy’s — a few blocks from the conference I attended over the weekend. Normally Levenger will assemble a small notebook for you to try out their pens on. Sadly, they were out of the paper, so I couldn’t get one. I did test drive a few of their pens. Nice. My budget wouldn’t quite stretch for the one I liked, but I did buy some pencils! My buddy Jon is analogue enough that he likes pencils, so I shared my pack with him.
One of the reasons I enjoy the social media community is that they’re very open-handed and friendly, as evidenced by Phil and Jon. Even though Chris has more than 66,000 followers on Twitter, he greeted me like a long-lost friend. (That was our first time to meet in person, though we have known each other through blogging for almost four years.) Jon, Becky, Sheila, NEENZ and I were good buddies by the end of the conference.
The social media community is a huge contrast to the graphic design community. When I finished college, I started work in Dallas. I went to several professional designers’ meetings. They seemed to be centered around achievement and ego. I never fit in. But the social media community celebrates those with disabilities that some may look down on. How refreshing!
And the pencils and pen are nice.
Takeaway: what are some ways you can be open-handed today?