I stopped in Starbucks at lunch to grab a quick coffee and relax on the terrace before returning to work. This particular Starbuck’s is on Germantown Parkway in Memphis TN and it has a great open terrace in the front of the store. I usually grab a coffee and head to the terrace to read a book and take a mid-day break at lunch.
When I headed out to the terrace I noticed another guys sitting in the area where I usually sit. As I approached he glanced at me and said, “Hi. How are you doing today?” I said, “Great! How are you?” He said, “Fine, thank you.” I then said, “Hopefully the world is as good as the both of us.” And smiled. He then said, “Well, I guess that would depend on which side of the grass they are on.” I smiled and sat down to start reading my book.
Now I have to tell you I had no clue on what he meant by that. Round and round in my head went “Well, I guess that would depend on which side of the grass they are on.” Just when I was about to ask him what that meant, he left with a wave. Now I was obsessed on figuring out what that phrase meant. It had to be some kind of southern slang and because I was new to working in the south I would have to figure it out on my own. Actually I once worked in Orlando FL for a year but all the people I know down there were from New Jersey or New York. So here I was thinking about the “grass” remark.
I closed my book and took three deep breaths and thought, “Okay. If you’re on top of the grass you would be alive and that would imply you are having a good day. If you are below the grass that would indicate you are dead and buried and having a nothing day and that would imply your having a “bad” day.” “Aha! I thought that has got to be it.” To confirm what I concluded I decided to poll my fellow co-workers when I returned to work.
When I returned to work I told Sam about my lunch conversation and asked him about the “grass” remark. I then told him my conclusion and he started laughing. After about five minutes Sam said, “I think he was referring to the “grass in greener on the other side” cliche. I then discovered that others were listening because questions began coming in from other cubicles. One was ‘Did he say what kind of grass?” Another asked “Was Astro-Turf mentioned?” On and on questions came in and finally I said, “No, he simply said “Well, I guess that would depend on which side of the grass they are on”. No more no less.” That ended the questions and we all went back to work.
That night I met my friend Larry and his mother for dinner. Larry’s mother is 80 years old and a native of TN. I figured she would know what the “grass” remark meant. I told her the story and what my conclusion was. She started laughing like Sam did at work. She said, “I think you friend at work is right about the cliche, but your conclusion is very creative.” She continued with, “Thank you for the sharing that. I have not laughed so hard in a long time.” I then said with a smile, “Your welcome and the next time I see that fellow I will let everyone know the answer to my puzzle.”
To my delight I didn’t have to wait very long to see the fellow again. The very next day he was at the Starbuck’s where I initially met him. I immediately asked him what he meant by the “Grass” quote after telling him what I thought he meant. He said, “That is exactly what I meant.” I started laughing and told him about my experiences over the last twenty four hours and how many people enjoyed discussing his comment. He laughed along with me and we then started a pleasant conversation about southern slang. As we chatted I noticed he had a book with him and I saw that the subject matter was exactly the same as the book I was reading. Both books were about generating the intension of positive thoughts and how the thoughts draw others to you.
I must say it’s been an amazing twenty fours hours and I made a new friend after all was said and done. I find it amazing how one comment made in passing to a perfect stranger generated several other conversations with other folks and much laughter. It’s been a great experience and nothing that I could think of could replace the “tall cotton” of this entire experience.