No Other ____ The Same: Welcome!

There's a little shop near the University of Pennsylvania that's different from the rest. For one thing, you don't see many students in there. Actually, there's usually only two people in there - the customer and the owner. The store sells fancy chocolates, old magazines, coffee, and some breakfast treats depending on the day. There's no soy or almond milk option. Cash is the only tender accepted, naturally. The owner is a loveable curmudgeon who usually stands in the doorway, staring at the passersby. A couple months ago, I went in frequently to buy chocolate. Now, most days I feel a bit guilty as he gives me a genial nod and lets me know, silently, that he is noticing that I haven't stopped in to make a purchase.

Today was a bit different. I for once had the cash to buy my overpriced chai tea latte (and let's be honest - a chocolate croissant), and the owner was nowhere to be seen. I gingerly stepped into the shop, and tentatively called out, "Hello? Good morning?"

A few minutes later, he leisurely came out of the back, acting as if I had interrupted his morning siesta. As he prepared my drink, another customer entered the store.

"Welcome!" the customer said, making a little bow with a flourish. The owner looked a bit displeased.

"Hello," he said drily.

"Don't you get it?" the customer said. "That 'welcome' is from Star Trek!" The owner gave him a blank stare.

"You don't watch Stark Trek?" the customer said. "I thought that would be your thing!"

"I guess I'm not a Star Trek kind of person," the owner said, a bit exasperated. I thanked him, paid for my coffee hastily, and left.


No Other ____ The Same: Priorities

At the park on Saturday, a little boy discovered some leaves. "LOOK!!!" he shouted to his older sister. "I FOUND LEAVES!!!" He dragged his little scooter over to the leaves. "Let's bury it!!" And just like that, his older sister and him set out to bury that scooter. Being that the scooter was rather tall and the leaves kept falling to the sides, it was a difficult endeavor. Yet with determination, he kept his priorities in mind and succeeded in burying it halfway. Then, he got a bit distracted - when his older sister started a leaf fight.

No Other _____ The Same: Just Climb

While rock climbing at a gym with a friend yesterday, I thought of how simple rock climbing really is. I don't mean technique-wise. Most of the time we were just hoisting ourselves up that wall with little grace and brute force. Yet, looking up, trying to find the next rock to grab and a place to put my feet, I was completely focused. All I had to do was climb. And then laugh at myself if I fell, because I knew my friend would catch me.

No Other _____ The Same: Philly's Rep

Saturday evening, coming back from devouring delicious tofu hoagies and chocolate with a friend in West Philly, the trolley was crowded and rowdy. A group asked me where I was getting off. 

"Oh, Center City..." I replied vaguely. 

"Which station is Center City?" 

I told them more specifically where I was planning to disembark, noting in my head that my mother would have probably advised me against telling perfect strangers my exact travel plans. 

"Oh, that's where our hotel is!" they exclaimed. "Can you point us in the right direction?" 

I decided to trust them and showed them the way. 

"You know, you just raised Philly's reputation infinitely in our eyes," they said as they thanked me. 

"Why?", I asked innocently. "Does Philly have a bad reputation?"