Dear Barista at my workplace espresso bar:
I know I have had, at times, a tendency to attach myself to people before they have demonstrated that they have "earned" my trust. I know that this can appear "needy." I am working on this. Might I also point out that in some circles I might even be appreciated as "trusting" or even "sweet."
Remember that conversation we had in the beginning of our relationship? About how the iPod has made it socially acceptable to be rude to your neighbors, because your neighbor snubbed you by putting his headphones on even after you established you were both on your way to the QFC? And I said, maybe it's a west coast thing, the pioneer spirit is alive and well out here and people like to be independent, and you said yes, yes, that's it, but shouldn't we all have community too. I had such high hopes for our morning happy talk then, Barista. A good morning greeting, a little edgy banter, some espresso-laced philosophy, and on to start the day. And when you remembered my regular drink that time? And told me that the americano is a barista's drink? I was in coffee shop heaven. All my years of being a nomad up and down the eastern seaboard, I never stayed in one place long enough to have a barista remember my name or my drink. But you, you showed me that I could be a regular. A fixture, even. You showed me a glimpse of what it is to have a place where everybody knows my name.
But then it all slipped out of my grasp, like trying to pick up a tomato seed. Maybe you were scared when I squealed with excitement that you remembered my drink. Maybe I was too "needy" and you are the kind of barista that needs a lot of space.
I can give you space! I can change! We can start over, Barista. Remember the iPod? Remember my sparkly social commentary? My trenchant grasp of current events?
But, Barista, as I Give You Space, do you really need to speak to everyone in front of me and behind me in line as if they are your BEST FRIENDS? Call them by NAME? Did you have to go right over my head (an accomplishment since I am taller than you) today to ask the lady behind me where she's been for a week? Did you have to ask her if she watched Washington Week? Is it because she gets French press and I just get Americano? Because I can talk about the Democratic primary with you. I can talk about classical music enough to be worthy of conversation without disturbing your reign as opera expert and espresso overlord. I can strike the right mix of interest, knew-that-already, and concern as you loudly educate me of events in the Middle East poorly covered by the mainstream media.
Sometimes you remember my drink, and others you stare at me blankly and make me say it as if I were *gasp*a NEW CUSTOMER. But I get the SAME DRINK every time! I have for years! I ask how you are, and if, and only if, there is no one else in line we have a chat. But I want our relationship to be public! I want to be validated, recognized, appreciated as a regular. Surely I have paid for my overzealous squeal six months ago. Whatever happens, I'll always have the iPod banter.
Very truly yours,