The Two Percent
I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. It is the perfect time to see family and friends, no matter what the weather. I attended BBQs with very close friends; in fact, there was 60% overlap between back to back parties I attended. All good and lots of fun had, but I am in search of the two percent. By two percent I am not talking about socio-economic class (the "1 percent"), but rather getting to the two percent of things that matter the most (thank you fellow Louper Jason R. who shared the concept). In a one on one conversation, it is after all the pleasantries, the catching up on the recent past, the discussing the near future (usually travel), here I am talking about the issues that make friends close. It may be the hopes, fears, obsessions or really anything. It differs from person to person. But, I find that I can get to the two percent by simply spending time with someone one on one. Sure, a BBQ during Memorial Day isn't the proper venue for having those quiet moments with deep, meaningful conversation. It is sharing a glass of wine, rather than putting down an entire bottle of 1942. Don't get me wrong, I love a party (and 1942!), but it must be balanced with deeper conversation and achieving the 2 percent. In this week's post, I go looking for the 2 percent that matters most.
Half a Bottle
No one I know collects half bottles of wine ... that would be weird! However, I notice that half a bottle is the perfect amount of wine to open at home alone or with a friend. According to wine expert/consultant Steve Gett, "My general rule after opening reds is to put straight in the fridge (especially in a NY apartment) and then finish up the next night. Sometimes can push to a third but generally find best consumed next day...but very rare a good wine will last the night!" Therefore, unless you are getting your drink on soon after that, the rest of the bottle usually goes to waste. That was before fellow Louper Kara F. introduced me to Coravin, and I got right on owning one. This handy device allows you to take a glass, or two, from a bottle without removing its cork and ruining its future prospects for drinking. If your spouse/roommate/friend prefers red wine (like mine) and you want white, you don't have to feel guilty about opening two different bottles. Maybe you want to open a great bottle for yourself and an inferior bottle for your guest, or vice versa, this is the perfect solution. A good glass of wine with a friend sets you on the path to getting to the elusive two percent!
The Handwritten Note
What I am about to write may seem old fashioned, maybe even blasphemous, but I still like to get a handwritten note. It feels so much more sincere and thoughtful that an email, text, Facebook Message, or even Snapchat. I am afraid that the next generation might not even have physical mailboxes; I fear for the job of my friendly USPS mail person Luisa, except Amazon seems to keep her plenty busy! I must acknowledge the expense (time, resources, money) of writing a note. This simple gesture requires stationary (who really has?), finding a good pen, writing (I have no stamina and my writing is atrocious), locating a stamp (never around), dropping in a mailbox (where is one again?), and then waiting for the USPS to do its work. I can only imagine the economic waste of this card traveling only a few blocks! Maybe these extraordinary steps are the reason I appreciate the effort of a card.
Well, there is a new, and of course easier, way to send "handwritten" notes and it's called Bond. Fellow Louper Suzanne H. introduced it to me, and I genuinely appreciate this application of technology. All you need to do is pick out a card, write a note, pay and then a handwritten note in your handwriting (or you can choose a better penmanship) is sent to the recipient, taking about a week to receive. Now, this is not about picking the handwritten font that imitates someone's handwriting on the font scroll down menu, but rather this is robotic technology that makes your sentiments come to life with the look of a Montblanc pen and time spent. The company built a writing machine with robotic arms that can hold a pen, a paintbrush or a marker that factors in the human variance present in handwriting. Bond seals each envelope with wax (the old fashioned way), adds a stamp and mails it; boom ... that easy! Bond's team of roboticists, software engineers, and typographers figured out how to write letters like humans (or better) so you don't have to ... genius! This takes much of the effort out of writing a note without taking away the impact of receiving one. Again, we are getting to the two percent (a short cut this time) by discerning the precious, meaningful and bonding moments.
Put your phone down, Part 2
Realism Smart Device
To be fully engaged in what we are doing (conversation, activities, etc.), we need to put our smartphones down and away. We covered this topic at length two weeks ago in Be Present. As I said, we need the trigger our of our hands not to be tempted by the multitude of activities available to us in that device. It is an original thought to think that the person or scenery in front of you are more than sufficient and probably better than what is waiting for you on your phone. In the interim, I have found a new way to do this, and it is called Realism. I know it seems silly, but this does the trick for me. It is a bulging frame that feels like a smartphone. Through it, you will be able to see the real world. You won't be distracted by ringing, message alerts, news alerts, Words with Friends reminders, or any other app or message. Instead, real conversation and enjoyment of the present will replace those lost moments checking in on things that can wait. Trust me here. Use that found time to dig a bit deeper with the person you are with, face to face. Get to the 2 percent!