Monday, March 29, 2010

15 Minutes of Flair

So far, finding daily flair hasn't been too hard (thank you Michael Jackson, seashells, doughnuts, crab teething rings, and worms), but today seemed profoundly flairless. I walked to school, taught classes, held office hours. All good things, but nothing extraordinary stood out. I did see someone wearing the brightest blue shirt I've ever seen--it was practically glowing--and I thought about stopping him, taking a picture, and asking if he minded appearing in my flair blog.

But then, my cell phone rang. My husband was picking me up from campus, and he'd be 15 minutes late. I stood on the curb, wondering what in the world I could do with 15 minutes. What can anyone do with just 15 minutes? It's exactly the sort of time increment worth wasting away doing absolutely nothing.

Instead, I called my friend (I knew her office was across the street from the coffee shop).

"Hey," I said.
"Hey," she said.
"I have 15 minutes," I said.
"Where are you?" she asked.
"By the coffee shop," I said.
"I'm coming," she said.

For exactly 15 minutes, I drank a skinny mocha (I put that in just in case my Weight Watchers friends are reading), sat outside of the coffee shop, and had a wonderful conversation. In 15 minutes, we covered the topics of men, teaching, clothing accessories, children, procrastination, spirituality, over-committing, class presentations, sandwiches, and, finally, my husband's new glasses.

This friend knows how to create conversation flair. She knows the art of asking great questions to draw me out quickly. I've noticed that she asks about my day, but she'll do so in a way that encourages me to tell a story about it. She'll say, "tell, me more," or "what was that like for you," or "what is that making you think about?". She'll mention things she's observing about my life by saying, "I noticed this about your daughters," or "you seem to really enjoy this about teaching." And then I ask questions and make observations of her in return. We laughed together, expressed sadness with each other, and most of all, celebrated our day. We talked deeply, with flair, for 15 minutes, exchanged a quick hug, and then I was off to deal with groceries, grading, play dates, and laundry.

Living with flair means I turn any moment into a worthwhile one. It means spending time building relationships through meaningful conversation whether I have 15 minutes or 15 hours. Deliberate questions, connecting deeply. That's flair.


Lauren Kooistra said...

I think I'm crying....does that count as flair? A completely joyful, moving, unexpected cry? Love you ;-)

Charity said...

Heather, you truly inspire your blog is my flair!!

Amy said...

I love reading about your flair discoveries! I can't believe that I didn't know about this before now. :) Now you're even famous in Siberia! Love you!