Today I had one of the most uplifting encounters of the past year.
A very small thing perhaps within a year which has included my first expo, graduation and plenty of other general commotion, nonetheless I found myself profoundly effected by it perhaps because it was so entirely unexpected.
Lately I’ve spent a fair amount of time in a cafe within a local bookshop, partially because the store portion seems to act as a buffer against the caffeine seeking lunchtime hordes, partially because my bedroom is starting to feel like an office. Mostly I figured a change of scenery would be a good way to kickstart my enthusiasm and make headway with my short. As such, I found myself in there on several occasions, colouring pages on my laptop.
While these sessions helped me avoid distraction and broke up the monotony of working at home I must admit I often felt a little uneasy about being out in public with these pages on show. Paranoid maybe, especially when they ultimately end up on the internet anyway but there’s something about having my working process observed which sets me slightly on edge. Besides occasionally noting what I imagined to be a disapproving stares I treated my surroundings as background noise.
I’d only brought a notepad when I dropped in this morning and was casually sketching some rough stuff, when one of the staff stopped by my table to pick up some empty cups.
“Not got your laptop today?” she queried chirpily. Without thinking I automatically told a casual lie “Uh no, I finished what I was working on.”
Stacking the mugs she paused for a moment before following this with another question.
“What do you do?”
Immediately defaulting to startled rabbit mode at the unexpected interest I mumbled vaguely about being a designer, inevitably far too self-conscious to admit I’d been working on a comic.
As it turns out though, I didn’t need to; pausing again as she pushed everything onto a tray the girl spoke again.
“We really like what you’ve been doing, it’s really cool.”
I was so utterly shocked by the realisation that these strangers – people I had been inadvertently treating like coffee serving automatons for weeks – had even noticed what I was working on – let alone liked it – that it’s miraculous I managed to blurt out a “thank you” in response.
A very small thing perhaps, a speck of kindness in a sea of cynicism, still I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of that cafe feeling quite so giddy.
Time to finish that comic.