Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Coffee Shop Litmus Test (how high is your CSV?)

A good friend of mine often says that if guys worried that his new girlfriend or female acquaintance is all fluff then guys take that girl to a coffee shop. Why? Because in a coffee shop, he presented, you are forced to have conversation. And you may sit at your own private table and your Coffee Shop Value (CSV) is based on your ability to hold a respectable conversation.

There are individual CSV scores and group CSV scores. Two people with high individual CSV's may score low when combined. These strange emergent circumstances though are often rare, normally it's a low scored person that will bring down the combined score.

CSV scores are most largely evaluated by (1) Interesting topic starters (2) Unique thoughts (3) Good listening (4) Appropriate Transitions

In the past couple weeks I have been around a few conversations of note with in ear shot that include...
  • A group of white women in a book club discuss race relations, many of them from the perspective of being a teacher. The women shared whether or not they felt like they were racist for acknowledging that their white students out performed white students. The group had a high CSV until one woman started talking about her observations of black people at Walmart...from here the conversation degenerated. (CSV=62)
  • A group of downtown employees discussed how they were effected (and not effected) by a Walmart culture and whether there any way to combat the spreading of Walmart. This group had a decent CSV except for one woman who thought she was the Walmart expert, and one man who thought that people who shopped at Walmart were lazy for not going to the effort to shop at hipper locations. (CSV=57)
  • A group of three people were discussing whether they thought it was worth while for them to try to get a Green Party candidate on the Texas ballot even though that candidate would not have a chance. It was a very good conversation, especially as everyone was listening and had interesting thoughts about the value of such a venture. The transitions to real facts and ideas were fantastic. (CSV=83)
  • Two students study statistics...the profanity they use show a severe lack of the filler conversation between T-scores and sample sizes is less than intelligent. (CSV=11)
  • A man and a woman talk about a dream to connect children to art class therapy. Both the man and the woman each have their own interesting storys but neither of them respond to the others story with more than a nod or an encouraging word, "Interesting," the woman says as the man talks about teaching handicap kids to draw upside down. Is that the best she can do...This woman has a low CSV, and his CSV is not high enough to recover, although his score is surely higher. (CSV=23)

Do you know people with a high or low CSV? And how come we forgot how to just talk in other environments. Is anywhere else just talking a waste of time?


NoolaBeulah said...

I envy you your access to coffee shop conversations. I'm hardly ever in one either alone or with anyone who would acknowledge the value of earwigging other customers. Doesn't your wife slap you and tell you to pay attention to what she's saying?

RC said...

Actually...these past conversations have been heard while at these coffee shops by myself...if I'm with my wife, it's usually her that is distracted by other people's conversation. :-)

Kimberly Ann said...

It is true, I'm the distractable one.

Spoke said...

If you want to hear some one sided, factless,predujiced, unintelligent racial comments, come to my little town.
A farming community full of White-wing evangelical churched people. When Jesus comes back, Hes not gonna tour through this land filled with fundamentalists. I'll have to travel to see Him.

hpy said...

Didn't you know that people seldom listen to others, being too busy to think what they will say when they will be able to stop the others.