Monday, February 25, 2008

My barista is emotionally unavailable

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,
Nora

20 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Oh barista, your fickleness wounds!

JCK said...

Oh, Nora. This was wicked clever. And it felt like the rejection of that boy I had a crush on in highschool...

hippyhappyhay said...

Bloody barista, able to make a great coffee and suddenly you're too good for the little people?!
Move on Nora, you are better than that, you deserve more, much more.

(But - perhaps barista is playing hard to get?)

She She said...

Cruel barista, she holds your heart in a paper cup.

Loved this!

MamaBird said...

Ok, post of the morning grateful wiping away of tears here. And I agree, barista is taking you on coffee coaster. He is high five faking you out, junior high fickle. I say, DUMP HIM. There must be another cafe for a...new impression? Smile. Loved your confessional.

HRH said...

I agree with hippy...you deserve so much more. You are better then that and Barista is just dragging you down. There are other Baristas in the sea. Ones that would treat you with respect and dignity...after all, you have the iPod banter.

Minnesota Matron said...

My lost love was with the girl who made my peanut-butter bagel every morning for five years while in graduate school. I still remember her. You never recover.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

That barista is a total player. And for the love of God don't let him con you out of $5K when he says he needs it for his mother's operation. He's no good Nora. No. Good.

Dude, my word varification is: pufsy. I'm not even kidding.

Vanessa said...

We all just want love right? ;)

lapoflux said...

Can you talk very nicely to one of the barista's colleagues and then be cool and vague with the barista?

Oh hang on, I graduated from high school didn't I? Disregard my immature suggestion (isn't it tempting though, hee hee).

Thanks for the funny post!

Michelle Hix said...

Oh that was sooo funny. I have this same feeling when I go places with my husband who is like the town mayor. The barista could meet him one time and from then on out he'd remember him even if he only saw him once every six months...but I could go in every week and just be any other customer to him.

see you there! said...

Treat the barista to your most enigmatic smile the next time and order something different so you aren’t predictable, so you stand out. Hmmm, how do you feel about green tea first thing in the morning? No?????

Darla

Don Mills Diva said...

This was a GREAT post - I could smell your need - I really could...:)

Mary Alice said...

That was wonderful. I'm not sure that ever barista understands the power they hold - they have the power to set the tone of your entire day. I hope Starbucks took time to convey that during their three hours shut down Monday for traing.

Jennifer said...

She so doesn't deserve you.

*grin*

Childlife said...

Such a tragic turn of events after such a hope filled beginning! Try playing hard to get... go to a new coffee bar and place your order. 'Forget' to pick up a cup sleeve then stop by your barista's place with your new squeeze and ask for a replacement cup sleeve ... Show that barista what it feels like to suffer!

Rima said...

Do you tip? Maybe she keeps track and only pals around with people who tipped the day before?

It's a long shot, but it's all I got.

PicaboMama said...

Are we visiting the same coffee shop? I believe we have both been scorned by the same barista.

Jodi said...

As mom always said...there are other baristas in the seattle.

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