Saturday, January 24, 2009

The real definition of Happy Hour...

Good morning everyone! I wanted to use today's version of the blog to explore Happy Hour. Mention the word to most of America and the images that are evoked are a crowded bar/taven in anywhere, USA on a Friday evening. Work's over, the week is finished, you got paid, and you're spending some quality time with Jack...or Bacardi and Cola. (I'm more of a vodka cranberry myself, gotta love Stoli!) But what happened this past Friday wasn't the typical happy hour in the sense of the word. Because to me, "Happy Hour" on the past Friday means spending it with my NSA teammates. I was contacted by a teammate who is the co-chapter leader for the Rockville region of the NSA. For those who are unfamiliar with Rockville, it's a very affluent bedroom community that serves as a suburb of the District of Columbia on the Maryland side, approximately eight miles northwest of DC via I-270. Many federal employees live in the area...very good place and a great quality of life. This teammate was coming up to visit NYC and was one of the first people who stutter I met at the NSA conference. Naturally, I made sure to get together with him for dinner, and invite some NSA teammates from the New York area too. So on Friday night, it was him and three others enjoying dinner, drinks, and good conversation at Tony Di Napoli's. When you visit the city, I implore you to please visit and sample a true Italian feast..1606 Second Avenue,, and have the ziti bolognese while you're there. It was two hours of chatting about life, politics, the NSA, and any other topic in general. And a good opportunity to put the troubles of the world behind, albeit for a while. You see, as a chapter leader for the Long Island region, I am very firm in my commitment to camaraderie. Again, I know I am repeating myself and often do, but I do so only to emphasize points I strongly believe in. The NSA is unlike any other organization I've known. You simply cannot get the type of bonds of support here, that you would get from any other organization. Truly to be part of a community like this is a gift, and a blessing that I never take for granted. Although we come from different areas, many times our paths may cross once in a blue moon. It's fantastic when we have NSA teammates meet up with each other in different areas. You never know when one is traveling on business and wishes to get together with another teammate in the area they will be in. We all run on different schedules. We're all at different points in our lives: Some of us are single by choice, others are married and have to take care of their children, but when you have that chance to get together with a teammate and the schedules are aligned, do it. It's time well spent. It's great to have these sites like MySpace and Facebook, but we need to realize that also it is not a substitute for personal, face-to-face contact. Especially for people who stutter, it's imperative to do that. Whenever one of my NSA teammates is in New York City, rest assured I'll be the first one on the Long Island Railroad en route to the crossroads of the universe (Pennsylvania Station, 34th & 7th: be there Friday at 5 p.m. and you'll see what I mean) to join them for time truly well spent. My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. And make your voice heard.

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