Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Best friends and barista counselors

I've got a pretty nice setup with work.  I generally work Monday through Friday and I'm off between 1:30 or 3:30 each day.  I've got pretty decent medical and dental benefits.  I like my regular customers a bunch.  I enjoy the team of people I work with at my store and there's never really drama in our department.  But one of the best perks of all is that I get to work with one of my best friends, Laura, nearly every day.  I forget that most of our customers have no clue that she and I were good friends prior to working together. That we lived together and I was in her wedding and that we have a friendship that exists outside of our shifts.  

We're learning to master the art of heart-to-hearts, three sentences at a time.  I never thought I'd be good at talking when I knew I'd be constantly interrupted.  Of course, since we're at work to work, not to catch up on the innermost workings of each other's lives, there are no hurt feelings when a deep thought is waylaid by a quick "Hi, what can we get for you?"  I laugh at how many times a story has taken the span of several hours to be told in its entirety.  I credit Laura for this skill, though she's still much more proficient at fragmented conversations than I.  I guess it comes, in part, from being a mom.

Laura and her husband and I ran the Hell Run, a muddy obstacle course, together on Saturday, where we received red capes emblazoned with "HR" in flame-like font.  Monday we decided to wear our capes at work.  We managed to convince a slew of customers that it was National Wear Your Cape to Work Day.  I think it would do most people a lot of good to wear a big red cape to work on Mondays, period.  I think it would help liven up the Monday blahs.  Everything feels a little better in a cape.  We dubbed two of our regulars honorary cape wearers and took their picture and laughed together that this is where we get to work. 

Unintentionally, we also solved the problem of what to do with my degree in counseling.  In a conversation with one of our beloved regulars, he admitted he worries all the time, about everything.  Most of his life, he said, is spent worrying about the past, present or future.  He said this with some dry humor, because he's a pretty funny guy, and so I responded with humor: "The question I want to know is, what on earth happened in your childhood?"  Since all barista interactions are by nature brief, we decided each time he comes in, he needs to share a story with us from his childhood.  He played along with us, and now, we've got some mini counseling sessions going on, all for the price of his drink.  While I doubt it's significantly changing his life, he must get something out of it, because he keeps coming back and we eagerly gather around the counter to hear his story for the day.  

The things you can do with a best friend at work.

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