Today I had a strange Zen moment. Sometimes in the mornings when I arrive at the train station and have time until my train arrives, I get a coffee and a chocolate croissant from a place called "Puccino's" - it's a corner kiosk thing where a guy quickly makes you a coffee before you rush off to the train.
I stand there, looking forward to my coffee. Me, the rushed guy in the dark suit with a book under one arm, City worker, financial services-related professional. I suddenly realise looking at the guy who has his jeans jacket buttoned up to his neck he's likely underpaid, cold, and, besides, doing 8hr shifts in an unheated tiny hut making coffee for people is not a great job (been there - I made sandwiches at 3 in the morning for pimps and prostitutes at a gas station for 6 EUR an hour).
Funny how these things work, suddenly reality shifts and you're in somebody else's shoes.
And as much as I moan and bitch about my job here and how we journos are underpaid and badly treated, I'm at least sitting in the warmth and have the internet at my disposal. Chances are, I'm making a lot more than that poor bastard. So, when he gives me my change, I leave it there and give him a smile. Crack a joke about how they keep changing where they put the sugar and stirrers, give him another smile. Treat him as a person for a moment rather than a coffee source.
I pry off the lid, put in some sugar, stir the coffee. Some foam escapes (I'm clumsy like that), I put the lid back on. The guy gives me a paper tissue for the spilled coffee, and a smile.
A small, tiny moment of connection and mutual respect. Just mindfulness. Really no big deal, but a decided zen moment for me to start my day off well.