Thursday, August 18, 2011

The "other" baristas

We have a lot of regulars that frequent our Starbucks kiosk daily. We try to know their names, their drinks, their taste preferences, and whatever other information they opt to share about themselves in our brief interactions. Some of them have even become friends. I love this aspect of being a barista, and at the same time, I've often wondered what it would feel like to be a regular somewhere myself. I've never felt that and I want to.

When I started the discipline of writing Monday through Friday, I opted to make my writing home at one of my favorite local coffee shops. That's right, non-Starbucks. I'm not a coffee Nazi. Over the past eight months or so, I've been included in this coffee shop's number of regulars. The baristas know my name and where I work (which they think is funny); they know about my writing and they've met Ricardo and they know I prefer a 2% latte, extra hot, in my own mug. I'm often one of their first customers of the day, and we're all a little sleepy, so we don't always talk much, but some days, we have surprisingly good conversations.

I've talked and joked about how many weddings I've been in with one of the baristas who has five weddings this summer alone, showed them pictures of Ricardo's family when they visited, shared my camping adventures in Ross Lake, told them the story of the serenata. I detect their genuine interest, and so I feel welcome to share. I even feel that they want me to. And I, in return, enjoy hearing the tales of their lives.

I've got to confess, I love my other baristas. And I think there's room in the world of one barista to enjoy her job and her regulars and to also enjoy being the regular of other baristas, blasphemous as it may seem. I'm thankful for them.

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