I emailed my friend Craig on Friday asking if he wanted to meet for coffee on Saturday.
He wrote back and said he couldn’t, he had a project he needed to finish at home, what about Sunday.
I couldn’t. I had the pancake breakfast. I let him know when I’d be around this week and he wrote back suggesting one of those days and now we’re going to meet for coffee.
On the other hand, another friend of mine was telling me about someone who says “let’s meet for coffee” every time they meet in passing.
He doesn’t just say this to my friend, he says this to all of the guys in their group.
This has gone on for years.
His friend never suggests a time and never responds to suggestions for times.
If they say, “I really want to get together,” and you say, “let’s meet on Thursday,” and they say “I can’t” but don’t suggest another time, they don’t want to meet.
The other person thinks they’re being nice when they say “let’s meet for coffee.”
I was thinking of this contrast lately and remembering a mother who told me that her son wanted to major in Computer Science in college. She told me that he wants to build iPhone apps.
“No, he doesn’t,” I told the mother.
Her son was a senior in high school with a Mac and an iPhone. If he wanted to write apps, he would have written some already. He would be spending his spare time fussing around with code and hacks that he found on the internet.
“Well,” said his mother, “that’s what he says he wants to do.”
I know. But when it’s time to decide how we spend our day, what we actually do is what we want to do.
That guy doesn’t want to meet his friends for coffee or he’d do it.
That son doesn’t want to write iPhone apps or he’d do it.
I’ve wanted to learn to sketch or draw for years. I really think it would be fun and help me express myself better.
I’m impressed by those who can. I once took a class in sketching and diligently did my homework.
I worked my way through “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.”
But you know what people who want to sketch and draw do? They sketch and draw.
They have a pencil and some paper with them all the time and they can’t keep themselves from noodling on paper while they sit and talk. They’re sketching while they meet with you for coffee. They’re experimenting with shade when they have a spare minute.
Let’s see if I can. Maybe I’ll stop and pick up a pencil and a little book this week and start playing. Maybe I’ll open up an app on my phone when I’ve got a spare moment or two.
If I can’t do that, then I don’t really want to draw.
There are so many things we say we wish we could do.
I think of my friend Jaimee and her Tiny Challenges. Her attitude is to start small. Her goal is to stay small.
Maybe she strings together enough days and enough successes that she can start to think bigger, but first she wakes up and draws something every day for a while ’til she knows she can and more importantly ’til she knows she will.
There are so many things I want to do but …
I can’t, because …
If I don’t follow that with “what about” with another time, place, or way to do it, that tells me something.
We can even meet for coffee and sit side by side and work on our separate goals. I can sketch while you write your novel.
“Want to meet for coffee Thursday?” I ask.
“I can’t,” you say.
There’s a pause.
During that pause I strain to hear if you can’t or you don’t want to. And then you look up, and I know we’re going to get together soon because you say, “what about Saturday?”
I smile and say, “Saturday’s great. I’ll bring my sketchbook.”