My life has become a non-stop string of work, and it is time to start telling stories again, because even though the days can smash together and seem the same, they aren’t. And even though it seems like I do the same thing nearly every day, it never actually is. What happens while I’m being paid a pittance, is important, and worthwhile, and I’m going to chronicle it.
Life is too wild, entertaining, ridiculous, fun, messy, and hard to not discuss.
Let us begin, shall we?
I am a barista.
Finally, I’m part of the Starbucks partner ranks. It’s with pride that I don my black and green daily. On one hand, maybe not the best use of my $45k college degree, on the other – I love it.
Sometimes, I swear I live there, at that tiny stand alone store. The place where I run miles back and forth in a twenty foot space, wall on one side, counter on the other. I work work work, until my heels hurt and I’m sometimes just done. Eight hours of nonstop can be exhausting. Add customers wanting venti, quad-shot, three pump mocha, two pump toffee nut, nonfat milk steamed to 180 degrees, but with whip cream, mochas… it can be soul-sucking.
To be fair, most customers are not nearly that needy.
Not every customer believes that it is their divine right to have a five plus dollar cup of craft coffee every day. Not every person who walks through that door believes that they deserve perfection, or expects us to be able to read their mind. But alas, some of them do. The ones who are the most trouble are the stories we partners tend to tell to each other, in hushed whispers over drive-through headsets, between orders.
Six months, and I have seen an incredibly broad spectrum of humanity while within those walls. Performers, retirees, teachers, addicts, business owners, students, managers, tourists. Ohmygoodness, tourists. People from Germany, Ukraine, Ireland, Australia, England, Moldova, China, Israel, Egypt… the lists are endless.
What I’m finding is there is a nearly tangible difference in your day when you focus on the negative, versus the positive. There is magic in the moment, and our motto “to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time” actually is inspiring, uplifting, and occurring daily, if I choose to see it.
The stories I would rather share are the ones of hope and kindness and love and patience and gratitude. I want to tell my coworkers, and my people, about the woman who, en route to the airport to visit her daughter in California, tipped us $20. Or the ones who are not just regulars, but friends.
I want to tell you that two days ago, I met Philipp (with two “p”s; he’s German). And I don’t know him – I might never see him again, but he was a breath of cute, well-mannered fresh air, and for five minutes, made work beautiful.
I want to tell you about the married couple who quote Eddie Izzard. The about my parents age, do the crossword together, never seem upset, duo. A few days ago, the husband came and announced he was picking up their drinks before their long haul. Alas, they’re moving back to sunny California. The wife wasn’t in the car to even say goodbye to.
For six months, I have seen them probably three times a week, yet I don’t even know their last name. After that shift, as I pulled into my driveway at home, I saw his jacket. In the driveway across the street. Turns out, they’ve lived three houses away from me since we moved to this neighborhood in November. I had the chance to hug the wife goodbye, and even take a family road trip picture for them.
What are the chances? They live across the street. I would say slim to none, because logically, probability wise, it’s not that high. Yet, every day, something occurs that can only be described by the statement, “This is Branson.” Or, as my best friend decided for me, “Cest la Branson.” The most unusual things happen in this town, and hysterical doesn’t even begin to describe it properly. I’m at wit’s end attempting to figure it out rationally, and have accepted #cestlabranson as enough of an explanation these days.
There are the laughter spells, where everything is funny, and partners are filled with life, sharing stories, telling jokes, poking fun in a lighthearted, loving kind of way. Days like St. Patrick’s, where a local performer, donned in nearly-too-tight white pants, and a black cross-between-a-tank-and-a-vest, brought in his bagpipes.
To the delight of the customers, the partners, and myself in particular, he proceeded to play Amazing Grace. When a woman tipped him $5.00, he handed it to us, smiled, and went on his merry way. My cheeks hurt from smiling, and I giggled through the entire performance. I could have, would have, and wanted to hug that man on the spot.
Truth be told, I love it. It is teaching me about perspective, attitude, choosing joy, gratitude, expectation, and many more things. Stories abound in the everyday, and it is thrilling to see how they unfold before my eyes. I’ll keep looking for them, and sharing them with you.
What is your job teaching you these days?
Where can you find joy in the humdrum of “normal” life?
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