Well, still no news from the DC Unemployment Office, I will have to give them a call tomorrow.
Today’s give turned out to be a new experience. I must admit that I kind of like when things do not go as planned as long as it doesn’t involve me getting mugged or pooped on by a bird.
My day started out quite interesting. I had a variety of phone calls in the morning related to potential work opportunities and connected with a few old colleagues. Then on my way to my Tuesday networking group, I saw Ron from Day 24 outside the Chipotle Mexican Grill. I was on my cell phone and quickly shouted hello and hoped to speak to him when I came out. I met my friend Levi for lunch and thought I would take Ron something, but when I walked outside he was gone. That is the first time I have seen a past recipient again. But that wasn’t the only first of the day.
So later, I hopped into a coffee bar to get warm and attempt to give my $10 away. I walked up to a man sitting by himself working on the exact same (or very similar) laptop that I have, a Lenovo X60. By the way, it is a very small portable laptop if anyone is looking for something like that.
Anyway, it looked like Mark was entrenched in some spreadsheets. The 51-year-old economist made a slightly wry face when I asked him if he could help me with my project. I ensured it would only take a few minutes and he said alright as long as it didn’t take too long as he needed to finish some work. I explained what I was doing and handed over one of the cards with the web address on it. He seemed taken aback a bit when I asked him to accept my $10. He left it sitting on the table in between us as if he still hadn’t completely made up his mind if he was going to take it. In fact at one point he said, “You can have your $10 back.” I explained that if he didn’t want to accept it, then I would have to find someone else. So the money stayed on the table.
I commented on the convenience of him being able to work comfortably from the coffee bar. We swapped some ideas on technology and he smiled as he remembered a story. About 20 years ago Mark had told a boss of his that, “One day, I will be able to do my work from the top of a mountain!” Little did he know how much the Internet would change our lives and how correct his statement would prove to be.
Well, here is where Mark threw me a curve ball. When I asked him what he intended on using the money for, he took a long pause and then peered back at me from behind his rectangular spectacles and said, “I don’t know yet. Could I get back to you on that?”
Nobody has asked me for time to think about it…sure some people take a minute or two to think about it but nobody has wanted to sleep on it. At first I didn’t know what to say. A “condition” for receiving the money up until now has been that people had to tell me what they were going to use it for. He had my email and said he would let me know when he had thought it through (another great benefit of technology). The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Here was someone who really wanted to think about it. He wanted to make the right choice. He didn’t want to just give me any old answer, but he wanted to give it proper consideration and then decide. Well, I said sure. I got his email as well, just in case Mark loses my card or forgets, I will hunt him down :).
I would love to hear Mark’s version of our encounter. What was going through his head? And I look forward to finding out what he plans to do with it. I will update you when I hear from him, or maybe Mark will post something directly here in the comments.