This is not to say that I am afraid of Waldo himself, but the real life situation of needing to find someone in a crowd, or even not in a crowd, gives me anxiety. If we are friends, there is a good chance I’ve been looking for you, walked past you, and not seen you. Don’t take it personally. Just shout my name and flail your arms and eventually I’ll find you.
Sometimes in life you are meeting people at Caribou, and you don’t usually meet these people at Caribou, and you are wondering if you will remember what they look like, and if you will be able to find them in the potentially crowded coffee shop. Panic begins to set in.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, as I did today, try doing a little mental preparation. Just talk yourself through the situation, step by step, and what you will be doing every step along the way.
“Ok, Laura, when you go into the Caribou, just casually scan the room as you nonchalantly walk up to order. See if anyone sticks out to you. Is it crowded? How are the tables grouped? Does any look familiar at this point? If not, it is ok. Remember to walk slowly so you have plenty of time to finish stage one. Then order your drink. It is ok to focus solely on ordering at this point, and not on who is around you. Otherwise you might embarrass yourself by mixing up your words. Finished ordering? Now you have two choices. If you have located your friends, you can go and sit down with them. Say hello and set down your things. If you haven’t spotted those acquaintances, go wait at the drink counter, and methodically scan the room, while giving off an air of perusing the wall decorations. Don’t look scared and confused. You will find them during this time. Have confidence. If that doesn’t work, use napkins and a sharpie to create a sign, like someone would at an airport, with the name of your party on it. Stand in the center of the room, hold the sign in front of you, and slowly rotate so everyone can see your sign. Eventually, someone will come and claim you as a friend. If that doesn’t work, just sit down on the floor and cry. Then go home. And never go to that Caribou again.”
However, all your careful strategic planning will be for naught if you went to the wrong Caribou. Just sayin’ – it could happen.
*This may be a true story about my day. No one knows for sure.