Dear Inquisitive Stranger,
The discovery that the Sorting Hat placed me in Gryffindor was met with the same mild confusion a dog experiences upon discovering the ball was never thrown in the first place.
Being a Gryffindor is no lemon (hello common room, roaring fireplace and four poster beds), its just that I had myself pegged as a grade-A Hufflepuff. A people and planet-oriented person, I had typecast myself, yet my choice to speak up against social and environmental injustice is what put the scarlet and gold jersey on my back.
Expectation can be a murky thing. When served a soggy burger and mushy fries, who hasn’t clocked a second glance above the counter at the menu promising fast food with mouthwatering wholesome looks?
Apart from the Sorting Hat epiphany, there has been a second revelation this week. Out for a stroll, I was thoroughly enjoying the name of the ‘Meatball Lounge’, when I noticed the powdery pink cafe sign opposite. Preoccupied thinking up meat themed wisecracks, I almost didn’t notice ‘One in a Million’.
Aha, thought I, the memorable cafe title recommended by an acquaintance whose confident endorsements like “spectacular interior” and “unique decor”, not to mention the inimitable name, usually reserved for admirers whispering in lover’s ears, make it perfectly tantalizing. Heck, singers have written songs, ranging from country to hip hop, about their special one in a million (although Axl Rose’s sentiments were a touch more racist and homophobic than those of Al Green). With such a cocky name, the cafe positively swaggers. This was a not-to-be-missed experience!
With expectations having taken off and cruising at altitude, I banked full throttle towards the door.
Dear Stranger, finder of this letter, I wonder if you were an intrigued wanderer who stumbled across the cafe gates or you purposefully strode here for an Instagram photo shoot? If the latter, did your expectations align with the reality? Is the dessert deserving of the best light? Does the interior design provide your perfect backdrop? With so many punters preening for the camera, it would certainly seem so.
As for me, I am as impressed as the day Shania Twain discovered her date had the looks but not the touch. I’ve been over-promised ‘spectacular’ and under-delivered vanilla latte. As inoffensive as a belly button, there is nothing to dislike about ‘One in a Million’ except the expectation that something was waiting for me as rare and fantastic as a unicorn headbanging at the bar mitzvah of Prince and Dolly Parton’s first born. My apathy is a solo experience as most of the on-site damsels are well titillated by their paper cup co-stars. One man’s signature Yorkshire Gold Milk Tea is another’s anticlimax.
Something the ‘One in a Million’ cafe does nail is to hammer the shiny, red warning, previously hanging limply, back onto the assumption signpost.
By jove, maintain the healthy high expectations that drive you to be awesome. Just reserve forming an opinion of an unknown quantity until you have wrangled with the beast yourself.
Dearest Stranger, I ask you heed these heartfelt words to circumnavigate the same disappointment I did after making an unfounded and rash judgement about a 1950’s household name.
Regurgitating a flippant description overheard as a child, I touted Doris Day as nothing more than ‘twee fluff’. Subsequent years were spent avoiding daytime television, lest I got ensnared in a Ms Day movie marathon because the other option was ‘Cash in the Attic’. Inevitably, the day came when I got pinned under a pile of sequin coats at a Eurovision Song Contest party and became the next conscript to the Doris Day fan club. The television, now in my direct eyeline, had been switched to ‘Calamity Jane’ while Europe counted the votes. Prostrate beneath the regalia of sparkles, I came to realise 2 things: sequins are heavier than they look and; Doris is really rather radiant.
Henceforth, I make big-league life choices by imaging my whip-cracking heroine commanding that deadwood stage coach while whispering to myself the mantra, ‘What would Doris do?’
My darling Stranger, before you go shelving 50’s film stars or hooning off to an Instagram mecca with your filter set to ‘nostalgia’, I recommend you first free yourself from expectation. Go about your day in forecast-free bliss and a sense of the spontaneities about you.
And for goodness sakes, if you are going to broadcast your one in a million nomination, be it human or cafe, please bestow the commission to that worthy someone or remarkable somewhere. Anything less than the spectacular Spiderman wearing the Sorting Hat surfing on volcanic lava flow at a Queen concert on Mars just isn’t deserving of the title.
Peace, love and cha cha cha.
One in a Million – songspiration for a generation
Hangangjin Station, line 6, exit 3
Monday – Sunday 11:00 -23:00
The Sorting Hat, sorted
Hello friend. This letter was released into the wild at ‘One in a Million’ for a stranger to find.
If you discovered it, I’d love to hear from you. If you didn’t find the letter but did discover this blog, it would be smashing to connect with you too.