“I want to work in a coffeeshop.” I told my mom, some months ago.
“A little one, local and quiet. I don’t want to be a barista, I just want to be the girl behind the counter. I want a slow job with time to dream and scheme while the day goes by.
“I just want to wipe tables. Take some ownership but not have much stress, you know? Easy and slow, with time to chat with the regulars.”
Oh, I wanted the regulars! Old people. Quirky people. Regular people.
I wanted to know them as Ellen The Accountant and The Guy with the Hebrew Tattoo. I wanted to ask Ed about his grandkids and the college students about finals. I wanted to know them by their drink and their habits. By a slice of their life – no more, no less.
I wanted to people watch. Overhear interesting snippets of conversation and laughter from old friends.
I wanted to make small talk and comment on the rain,
knowing I might never see that person again. Or maybe tomorrow.
You never know, in a coffeeshop.
You have a chance to make someone smile, and yet are not obligated to be friends even. You get to be nice to strangers, every day! What a freeing, fulfilling position that would be!
This week at the museum I witnessed playdates of 6 year olds and meet-ups of moms.
I helped make a mask, cleaned up a broken jar, and brought out some animals on request. I got to serve.
I overheard snippets of conversation and laughter from old friends. I cleaned the toad tank and I wiped the biome counter. There were quiet times and busy hours. People came and went.
And every day I greeted kids by name, gave eye contact and smiles, and small talk to moms, dads, and grandparents.
I realized that I do have my regulars. And I smiled because this week I saw that it seems I have been given
my own kind of uncommon coffee shop.
(Plus free refills with every cup! Now that’s a steal of a deal.)