I found myself on the 29th floor of the Gherkin, taken aback from a spectacular view of London, wanting to approach the glass but feeling that I would look like a massive dork if I said in the middle of a business meeting ‘excuse me, do you mind if I go and take a picture‘ (in my head I say this with a dorky voice and I am strangely wearing thick framed brown glasses while saying).
So I sat there, listening to people talk, nodding politely at the right times, chipping in at the right moments, doing all the right things while avoiding the view on my right.
I have a history of being reluctant to say what I want, thinking that I might imposition people. ‘I don’t mind‘, ‘I will have a cup if you are having one‘, or ‘what do you want to do?‘ have been part of my vocabulary for way too long.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a shy wallflower. I am very assertive in most areas of my life, I usually take charge in situations and always think of all contingencies and all factors. It’s just in social situations that sometimes I forget to add one factor: me.
So, when the meeting was over, we all got up, shook hands, said pleasantries, and as we were almost ready to leave, I said: ‘I would like to take a picture, would you mind?‘. I did not ask if I can take a picture, I stated that I wanted to take one. I did not ask or waited to see if someone else wanted to take a picture, because I wanted to take one. I did not make a self deprecating joke about my Instagram addiction, went cute, or felt bad about it. I wanted it, and if I could do it, I would.
‘Of course‘, was the answer, and then others started taking their phones out, approaching the glass, and taking pictures too, making me wonder if they wanted to ask for one but didn’t, and what questions they wanted to ask but chose not to. For me, this picture was not a question anymore. It was an answer.