The Colors and Characters of Coffee

Saying that I love my job is like saying that Prada makes decent shoes. The understatement is appalling. Inserting about fourteen 'really's between the 'I' and the 'love' brings it slightly closer to the truth.
There is hardly anything that I dislike about it. Well, okay; I could totally get on board with hiring someone strictly to sweep and mop the floors. (But I'd want to include my own house in that deal as well, so it probably isn't going to happen.) However, everything else holds an element of pure excitement, magic, beauty, or an entertaining inside joke with myself. The waffle cones in their great, octagonal jar with just a tint of sea-green to the glass makes me exquisitely satisfied and I really kind of resent the other cones when a customer orders them instead.
We have the teeniest, tiniest, sample spoons for the ice cream, and I'm always tempted to hold them and pretend I'm Glumdalglitch from Gulliver's Travels (“Eleven. But I'm growing very fast!”). I can't even get started on the unnatural addiction I have for pulling perfect espresso shots – the rich, reddish-caramel liquid streaming into portly shot glasses like pulled taffy; the intoxicating aroma of crème and grounds permeating my skin and hair and clothing; the brief, wild urge to pour shots between my lips instead of the customer's cup; the feeling of indulgent generosity when I hand over the drink finished with a startling rosette as I think “You have no idea how close you came to losing this”.
The names of coffee are either intriguing – Caffe Del Sol – or unimaginative (Guatemala. Where is this from?). My favorite is the Novacella Decaf. I say this to myself in the worst possible, sing-song, masculine Italian accent - “NOvahCELla DEcaf” while doing a Godfather-esque gesticulation. I am embarrassed to admit that this affords me endless amusement.

And then there are the People. It's really like my very own, unscripted Reality Show, featuring regular stars and many special guests. Some of them very 'special' indeed, like the teenage couple from this morning. She seemed bright, though shy in newly fixed braces, smiling and running her tongue tentatively over the metal as she ordered a Venti Mocha.
“Would you like whipped cream?” I asked. She hesitated and looked at her boyfriend for his opinion. This was a fruitless endeavor because all he was capable of was wiggling both his eyebrows and protruding tongue at her in what he obviously thought was a manner irresistibly sexy, but really resembled a demented snake. “Do we want whipped cream?” she asked him, deeming words necessary. He leaned in and bit her nose. “Um. No whipped cream” she said to me, rolling her eyes.

Sometimes the cuteness of my customers is nearly too much to bear. A group of four little girls – two sets of sisters – came to get ice cream and hot chocolate, peppering their requests and conversation with 'please' and 'thank you' at adorably regular intervals. The smallest one, perhaps six years old, was dressed in a wee red sweater vest, little red skirt, and the teeniest penny loafers possible. “I would like to please sample the chocolate, please” she chirped, standing on her very tip-toes to look into the ice cream case. I scooped as much chocolate as the sample spoon could hold and handed it to her. “Thank you! Did you know something?” she said gravely.
“No. What?” I answered just as solemnly.
“I am Mother Nature!” Her eyes sparkled mischievously.
“Are you serious? I had no idea that Mother Nature was so tiny!” My response sent her into gales of laughter.
“I know! People step on me ALL the time!” she huffed amid giggles.

It seems that any town, no matter what the size, is full of characters. Remind me to tell you about the small town elitists sometime.

No comments: