My Barista the Astrophysicist

Published on September 5th, 2017
Barista intensely focused on creating a drink.

Let’s face it, our brains are wired to label and stereotype because it’s a simple shortcut compared to approaching people without projections of who they are and what their interests are. We know this intellectually, and yet I find myself frequently surprised when I find examples that remind me to not assume.

The latest example occurred at a coffee shop when one of the regular baristas went on a break outside carrying a book. Always curious to find another literature nerd, I snuck a peak at the cover only to discover it was about string theory. At first, my brain chalked this up to a lot of the interest in the metaphysical community because concepts like entanglement give a scientific explanation of psi and psychic phenomena. So I made it a point to ask what his interest was in this topic. He responded that he went to college for astrophysics and wanted to keep up with the latest theories and discussions regarding grand unified theories. This time I was legitimately taken aback. The same guy that asked me each morning whether I wanted the light or dark roast had more insight into the fundamental laws of nature than I did after spending nearly a decade in college and then letting those skills atrophy over the past eight years. I tried to continue and contribute to the conversation, but I was too rusty to keep up.

This experience was yet another humbling reminder to not judge a book by its cover as well as pay attention to the book covers of those that we judge.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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About Rick Manelius

Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.