I was in New York City this weekend, eating in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn with my son and daughter. Outside of our window was the back of a stage, with a HipHop concert in full swing.
The three of us have spent two days walking around the city, and we’re consuming our pizza like Jabba the Hut. We’ve interacted with our waitress only long enough to order our food.
Then we see commotion on the cobblestoned street. Two police officers run out to block traffic. A white Mercedes slows down right in front of our window, and several body guards surround it. The gate opens, and we watch the Mercedes pull into the concert arena.
Next, we see a black Mercedes and Escalade, both approached by police officers. Now the entire restaurant is buzzing.
“Who do you think it is?”
“I don’t know — I heard this was going to be a big concert.”
Restaurant patrons, who were previously eating without eye contact, are starting to talk with each other. As a red and black touring bus pulls up, surrounded by twelve motorcycles adorned with very large men, our waitress runs to our table.
“The guys in the kitchen say it’s Kanye West! He’s supposed to show up tonight!”
“Are you kidding? That’s amazing!”
I throw money on the table, offering about a 50% tip just so I don’t have to wait for change. The kids and I step out onto the street, trying to look cool. Of course I’m doing the head bob to the music which my son quickly informs me is NOT cool.
The large motorcycle guys come over and stand behind us, sporting black bullet-proof vests. I turn around and find myself gazing into the belly button of one of the guys. Now people on the street are talking, laughing, and dancing.
Yes, it was Kanye West. But here’s what I noticed most – when people had something to talk about, they became quick friends. The energy in the restaurant and on the street was about more than Kanye. It was curiosity and the thrill of having something to talk about.
Sometimes that’s all we need. A common theme. A point of possibility. Anything that will connect people through conversation.
We had no confirmation of the superstar that seemed to be arriving, so it gave us time to throw out possibilities. There is excitement in possibilities. People like to guess and predict without someone shooting them down with phrases like:
“No, that can’t be who it is. I’ve run this spreadsheet and the odds are impossible.”
“We tried guessing Kanye before, and it didn’t work. There’s no way it’s him. I have it in my Powerpoint deck.”
Sometimes we just need to take our brains out for an adventure where answers are unknown and anticipation is high. Our energy lasted all night as we told and retold the story to each other.
Want some energy? Let people take their brain somewhere it hasn’t gone before. Maybe to a HipHop concert.