July 7. Day 7.
I'm starting to have trouble coming up with material.
I spend most of my days indoors, alone, working on my thesis, and then at night I see either my family or my friends. I don't feel like I lack the courage to express my wants or needs in this context. I am discovering, however, that this commitment to ask for something everyday is forcing me to think about what I could ask for in the first place.
What's on my to-ask list? What could be better in my life? Are there opportunities I didn't notice before? How could someone else help me get there? What could I offer in exchange?
What I discovered I needed today was actually free. But it was hard to ask for it. I went to Starbucks with my aunt, who's in town for a few weeks from Europe. We wanted to get a coffee, and San Diego is tragic when it comes to coffeehouse options. So I took her to Starbucks.
My aunt, who claims she rarely drinks coffee (I say 'claims' because my family is from a country where people drink so much coffee they probably fund half the GDP of Ethiopia; which is not a lot, granted, but then my country happens to be a small country. Basically, you never hear of someone turn down coffee. But if she says so...) noticed the lemonade on their menu and was curious what it's like.
So I asked the cashier for a sample.
This was hard to do, because the cashier was already looking incurably bored as we inspected the menu.
Once I asked, she stared blankly at me.
I rephrased the question more bluntly.
"Could you please make us a smaller version of the lemonade, for free, so we can see what it tastes like?"
The girl scowled and slithered to the lemonade processing station, and returned with two little cups of icy sweetness.
My aunt ordered a lemonade, and I went for a coffee beverage.
Gained: about $.60 worth of lemonade.
And, a takeaway: Asking is easier when the target is receptive. Sounds obvious, but now I guess the trick is identifying the receptive targets, or making unwilling ones more compliant. (Drums fingers together in a sinister manner.)
Update from Day 3 of asking, the dry cleaning discount: The total was $71, so I saved $7. That's basically a free lunch. Just by asking!?!