just another day slingin’ lattes.


While the Library and Information Science program ensnares a big part of my day-to-day living, there’s also something else in there to ensure that I have absolutely no free time and that I sleep through coffee dates with my friends (as was the case last night… sorry, former good friend).  This other indomitable force is, as though I even have to say it out loud, work.  

In case you don’t remember, I work in a coffee shop.  Lately, I’ve mainly been working closes.  The change from opening at five a.m. was a grisly transition, but it has done wonders for my schedule.  Most days, I have until three or four in the afternoon to do homework, meet with librarians, conduct fieldwork, and other library-related endeavors.  Through this schedule change, I’ve fallen into a good rhythm.  It works well for me.

There’s a point to all this, I promise.  Yesterday, I worked during the day, one of those shifts that normal people with real jobs can relate to.  Before this, I had done nothing but closing for a few weeks.  I thought I was on a hot streak, so I counted:  before yesterday, my last fourteen shifts were closes.  I don’t mind this even a little.  I’m actually a little proud.  Still, it’s kind of strange to sit and contemplate.

As you can imagine, I was a little out of it yesterday.  Having to actually set my alarm so that I’m not late for work really harshes my mellow.  As a result, I spent the day amidst an abundance of clumsiness, just waiting for the big, inevitable, dismembering accident.  

At mid-day, we were working on cleaning the floors behind the counter.  We do this every day: move the mats, sweep, mop, put the mats back, mop the mats.  Yesterday, we had just gotten the bare floors mopped when some customers came in.  One custy ordered a tall misto, which is coffee with steamed milk (I’ve heard the rest of the world refers to this as a cafe au lait).  I poured the coffee, and started walking it over to my partner in crime so he could add the milk.  

I could tell the moment was upon me, because time had become suspended to make sure everyone had a chance to look in the direction of what was about to happen.  Sure enough, I slipped, spilling the entire cup of coffee down my hand, arm, torso, and leg. 

For those of you who have never experienced a big ol’ coffee burn, let me tell you: it hurts.  It’s a strange sensation, because it’s shocking and painful, but you can easily play it off.  Somewhere in your subconscious, you know that, while your eyes might be instinctively watering now, you’ll be fine in a few minutes.  I’ve learned that most customers don’t know this, though, because they usually freak out when they see a barista get spilled on.  We know better, though.  There might be a temporary painful red burn, but spilling coffee on oneself rarely causes damage that lasts more than half an hour.  

Note: The previous sentence is based on no other scientific reasoning than my own experience.  I have burned myself countless (but surely over a million) times while working in the coffee joint, and have never been seriously injured.  Or even slightly injured, for that matter.  

Pretty soon after the spill, time resumed.  The moment found me standing in a puddle of coffee that grew as it dripped off my sleeve and apron.  The trauma of all of this was clearly visible in my expression.  My co-worker looked at me, stifling a laugh, and asked, “Are you okay?”

Before I could answer, the customer who ordered the misto craned her neck to look over the counter at me.  Seeing the damage, she thoughtfully and genuinely asked, “could you make sure you put some good, creamy foam on there?”

Rather than answering my co-worker, I shot him that look.  The one that we all understand.  It’s not even a secret, as far as I know.  The look among baristas that conveys everything we need to say in half a second.  For the sake of being appropriate, I’ll describe this particular look as something along the lines of, “I cannot even believe she just said that.” 

No, ma’am, I’m fine.  Please.  Don’t worry about me.  Frankly, your concern is embarrassing.  Thank you, but I’ll be just fine.  

There are some days that I am completely ready to hand in my apron.


One Response to “just another day slingin’ lattes.”

  1. 1 A. Morrell

    So this is where you “blog”… man, I hate that word.

    I wish I could say “wow, what self control you exercised” and comments of that nature, but I just know it all too well. Just keep on keeping on, and call me soon, especially if you changed your number.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: