Costa Coffee, Call Centre Chickens and Coughing

August 31, 2012

I recently entered into a debate with a group of friends about the virtues (or not) of Costa Coffee. I enjoy the aroma, ambience and allure of the promotional efforts, from the pretty girls, to the discount (sorry, loyalty) cards to the great charitable causes they support and the proclamations of how much ‘We’ have made. ‘We’ (“and WII too”, nudges and reminds my wee son) have important connotations for the conflicts between the ways we should and yet seem to be inspired to lead our lives. You will notice I used ‘we’ implying that you all should have the same conflicts.

Of course I mean the conflicts in my life not our or we’s lives; that is the conflicts of my spiritual – that which is bigger and greater than I – nature and my consumer preference, the simplicity with which I can grab a quick coffee whilst running for the fast train, oh, and provide cheaper technological fantasy, fitness and no doubt other kinds of ‘F’s’ to my family for entertainment and distraction. I sell out.

Wheeeeeeeee ……. used to be me down the slide and to the bottom (which is now the bit of me that gets stuck half way up the slide!) Now it is the centre of the house, where the hearth used to sit. Whilst I smile at my own inanity, both intellectually and spiritually, the fact is as a rational businessman, functional coach and fluffy counsellor, I am encouraged into the sale and I buy it!

Why does that happen? McDonaldization! Which a guy called Ritzer coined to describe how our world, our contemporary social life, is becoming rational. Efficiency is the rational drive. McDonald’s provides the most efficient method for people to go from a condition of hunger to a condition of satiety – that is satisfying a physical hunger at the cost of the spiritual – which is after all, fluff and more akin, to some, with insanity!

Rational ‘Donalds (hereafter termed ‘Rash Don’) requires a focus on efficiency, predictability, calculability, and nonhuman technologies that control people. Which is where my good friends, the “Call Centre Chickens” come in. They don’t seem happy bunnies, but I do like the cheap, consistent service I get. (My train is rarely late and if it is, I have time for coffee). As a lecturer, I teach how to use apply rational ways, so now I am pondering, why?

As a counsellor, I am told to ‘evidence and record’ my outcomes using ‘Rational Emotive Behaviour’ techniques and I buy it whilst pondering if the blubbering wreck of a client in front of me is recordable? They are healing, does it matter I ask myself?

My mind is a buzzing like a bee, as the hapless, happiless hoppiless bunny stares at the cooped chicken screaming “Do nothing Eisba!” And maybe I should.

The coughing? Oh yes, that’s what I did a lot of when my friends pointed out my Costa Conflict …. *Cough* need a drink, BRB.


Advice to HypoKondriacks… three esteemed Doctors

August 27, 2012

Jonathan Swift named the three best doctors; Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet and Doctor Merryman.

I am a grandfather with good teeth, a full head of dark hair and energy to cycle, run dance and play. Here’s how I have interpreted Jonathan’s advice.

Doctor Diet. Choose your food carefully, be wary of too many fad diets and always leave the table (so conventional wisdom goes) wanting just a little more. Being mindful when eating is also beneficial enjoyment, digestion, a sense of calm and of course, mindfulness.

Doctor Quiet. I am an introvert. I love being around people, teaching, playing, laughing and joking, but I like to gather my energy from a place of quiet solitude. We all have a need for privacy. It is important to find some quiet time for yourself regularly to avoid being overloaded. Being out in nature is for instance one good way to reconnect with the quiet and stillness. Mindfulness, mediation or simple attentiveness often suffices. After having ‘partied’, I then like also to return to that place of quiet reflection.

Doctor Merryman. “Folks are just about as happy as they choose to be!” paraphrased Abraham Lincoln. How happy and positive one decides to feel is often to a large degree a choice. You can cultivate a negative attitude towards everything or a positive one.  Positive Ways says I!

Anyway, I enjoy a good party, especially if it involves a lot of dancing and so, with Ludo Crass laughing in my ear, I can relay what he has equally paraphrased Jonathan with “Riot, Diet and Quiet”.

Seems reasonable to me!