the ‘bux doesn’t like to pay it forward

I will always look back fondly on my high school days.

For some, it was a torturous experience full of bully’s, bad grades and seriously awkward pubescent yearbook photos. Me?, I was lucky enough to detour most of the socially awkward experiences and really enjoy all that growing up in suburban middle america has to offer.

The majority of my time centered around boys. DUH. Looking at them, talking about them, doodling their names on my paper bag book covers and passing notes about them. Come to think of it, my best girlfriend and I (Gina) finally got the clue and skipped the whole tearing notes out, folding them, etc. and just kept a notebook which was decorated with clippings from the newest issues of YM and TEEN which we would write to one another in each hour. I still have one of those notebooks and when I find my self reminiscing once in a blue moon and pull it out, it appears to be more of a catalog of crushes then anything else.

You would have thought that notebook was worth its weight in platinum the way we kept it under lock and key. I knew which class I could slither down in the back row and get away with reading/writing in and which class it’d be safer zipped up tightly in my Jansport.

My Senior year I decided to take AP (Advanced Placement) English as an elective, and while most of my friends spent their 3rd hour playing badminton in Net and Racket Sports, or decorating banners for the pep assembly in Leadership I spent mine analyzing the dialect of Beowulf and cramming for the AP English Language and Composition Exam. So when my teacher had to take a week off for a personal issue and we were left with a substitute more suited to babysit toddlers I knew we were in like Flynt for an easy movie week. With the lights turned off and sleeping heads resting peacefully on desktops I knew I would have plenty of time to update Gina on my newest crush and the latest gossip in our notebook.

The first half of the week we watched Wit staring Emma Thompson. I still remember being put to sleep mid note

“…she is just a stupid ho anyways G and OMG did you hear who he is taking to Prom …”

but Ms. Thompsons monotone voice and the dreary plot of the film. (*Note: I have since watched Wit again and loved it – go rent it today!!)

The second half of the week when my notebooking should have been skyrocketing thanks to perfect note writing conditions – read: substitute, dark room, back row – my social and personal life imploded. I am pretty sure within the span of three 3rd hours I spent with my eyes fixed to the tv in my classroom, my boyfriend dumped me, my best friend went on a date with the most eligible boy in school and no one was friends with miss popular anymore!

That film which still to this day stands as one of my favorite forgotten about movies of all time was Pay It Forward. I couldn’t divert my eyes away from the chaotic life of Helen Hunt’s stripper/mommy madness or the adorable and hopeful Haley Joel Osment. The premise of the movie is to do just as the title states – when someone does you a big favor don’t pay it back, pay it forward.

Thorsen: I thanked him and there were some very specific orifices in which I was told to shove my thanks. He told me, “Just pay it forward.” Three big favors for three other people. That’s it.
Chris: So it’s like a pass-it-on thing, then. Wait a minute. You and this lowlife are in this chain of do-gooders, some kind of Mother Theresa conga line? That’s a little New-Agey for you, isn’t it? Sort of Tibetan? What, are you in a cult?

I always loved the idea of paying it forward. It made sense in a Golden Rule, Catechism class, do unto others kind of way … but sadly at the time my priorities weren’t in check and I worried more about making sure I had everything/one I wanted and someone paying it forward to me first, then taking the initial leap to start the chain.

Then yesterday, 6 years after I first saw the movie, on one of the health and fitness blogs I read (please stay tuned for training/running updates!) a woman mentioned paying it forward and it began a dialog of thoughtful ways to pass along favors. Someone in my office mentioned a time when they were at a gas station and went in to pay for their fill up when they were told that the gentleman who had last been in paid for their gas, another mentioned a time when their boss ordered their favorite take out meal for them without their knowing after some financial hardships had risen and he was forced to brown bag it for 6 months.

… and it got me to thinkin …

and I sometimes always hate when that happens …

so … this morning when I stopped by Starbucks for my venti black coffee and found myself to be the only patron in the store, I handed the barista a $5 bill and told him with a smile and a generous heart to

“please put that towards the next persons drink who comes in”

and get this folks – he replied with

“sorry, no can do, corporate rules or somethin”

I was appalled! And my little do-gooder self was mad.

Seriously? No can do? What is this a communist country? You would have thought I was asking him to lace the next persons coffee with Anthrax or something. I just couldn’t believe it.

& the more I think about it, the more it really irks me that we live in a place, and time where someone can’t even buy someone else their morning coffee, just to be nice. Grrr.

I love Starbucks. I love their morning brew. Their recycled insulating sleeves. Their wi-fi. Their adorable mugs and tasty pastries …

… but with their ever growing fiscal problems and poor pay it forward ‘tude they are on my naughty list.

So Starbucks – lets for a moment presume this blog to be my high school notebook, and this entry a note to Gina. If I were you I’d be worried. Because Gina knows how to keep a good juicy, gossipy secret, but when that note falls in to the wrong hands on accident, you better believe everyone in school is going to know how much of a bi-otch you are!!


1 Comment

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One response to “the ‘bux doesn’t like to pay it forward

  1. Awesome blog. I found your blog via a post on H & F board.

    I can’t believe you aren’t allowed to pay for someone else’s drink. That is so bizzare!!

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