Hello friends. We have not updated this blog in a very long time. This is a result of several factors, one of which is that both Heather and I are changing jobs. I feel like “changing jobs” feels very suburban, very adult, like maybe you are looking into transferring your 401(k). In actuality we are both going from jobs where we are expected to smile at people from behind a cash register into jobs where we have our own email addresses and aren’t supposed to let anyone know if we show up to work hungover. I have many feelings about this and suspect Heather does too, but I have already inflicted them on everyone else in my life, so I’m going to try to let go of that or at least deal with it in private, like a motherfucking adult. What I wanna talk about here is the good things, the things I am happy about and will remember fondly. I’ve bitched about crazy, rude customers enough for a lifetime. Today was my last day at [place of employment], and now I would like to share about my favorite customers, in ascending order.
Christian is a Lebanese biker who wears spandex bodysuits at all times and loves beef wellington. He comes in almost every day and refuses to order off the menu. He either coaxes us into modifying actual menu items until they meet his specifications, or takes a retail prepared food item out of the refrigerated case and makes us reheat it in the oven. He exhibits Grade A annoying customer behavior but he is so goofy and heavily accented about it that you can’t really take it seriously, and he’s so good-natured and friendly (he knows all of our names!) that it’s pretty enjoyable. It’s annoying to put his shrimp in the oven for exactly 18 minutes, but on a day when you think a customer might actually stab you in the eye with a compostable fork it’s a huge relief to have someone so consistently weird. He will not eat anything on the menu that is of Syrian origin out of national pride.
4. Sausage Flatbread, Light on the Peppers and Extra Feta, With Iced Tea To Go
I do not know this woman’s name but I am worried about her health. She orders a sausage flatbread (pork-and-beef sausage with olives and hot peppers on a flatbread spread with feta butter – that is CHEESE MIXED WITH BUTTER – and then rolled up, COATED IN OIL and grilled) every single day basically. I am afraid we are going to give her heart disease and kill her. I think she heard me say this to a coworker once and tried ordering other things for a while, but now she’s back to her usual. She is very courteous and I like her a lot. Sorry if we kill you, nice lady. Thanks for tipping.
3. Jim (Skim Latte To Go)
If our coffeeshop had a mascot, he would be it. He is a squat older dude in glasses who comes in every single day and orders a skim latte, either iced or hot depending on the season. Usually whoever is on drinks will signal to him from across the cafe to figure out which kind to make, and then make sure to have it finished before he makes it to the front of the line. He tips every single day. He is a rock star, and every single employee loves him. One of us recently petsat for him. There are few more authentic ways to express affection for someone than medicating their cat, even if you are being paid. LOVE YOU JIM.
2. Susan (Half-Caf Skim Latte For Here)
This is just the nicest woman alive. That’s all there is to it. She is small and older and has inexpertly dyed hair and she is so polite and timid that you almost want to apologize to her just in case you’ve made the register transaction stressful at all. She left a whole box of chocolates and glitter hand lotion (???) for the staff at Christmas, as well as a card. Also, there is something so endearingly careful and restrained and completely characterizing about a half-caf skim latte. I mean – I don’t know. It’s not even decaf. It’s half-caf. Do you know what I mean? Say you know what I mean.
1. Vanilla Coffee To Go
This is my favorite customer, hands down. It’s a controversial choice; I think everyone else thinks he is a pretty ok dude who looks vaguely like the grownup version of the ‘bad kid’ in The Breakfast Club. I don’t know. He comes in every day and orders a vanilla coffee, then adds milk. He makes conversation, and he’s so bad at it that it has to be completely genuine; I mean, clearly it’s not out of habit, you know? He is Jewish and unemployed and goes to AA meetings, which means I feel like we already get each other on a lot of levels. Once he came in dressed up and I told him he looked nice and he said “Thanks for saying that, that was a really nice thing to do.” It was so sincere it made me uncomfortable, which is a quality I kind of admire in people. He isn’t funny, and I like that. Tonight I told him I was leaving; he is the only customer I feel like I owe that too, because he’s the only one who might actually notice I’m gone (with possible exception of Sausage Flatbread, I am not sure anyone else knows her order by heart). He immediately knew that it wasn’t an unequivocally positive thing, asked if I had ever considered teaching English, agreed with me that teaching probably meant a lot of obnoxious children, and then wrote down on a napkin MATT GROENIG – WORK IS HELL, which is the title of a book. He said he thought it might help. He also wrote down LIFE IS HELL and LOVE IS HELL, which I don’t think are part of the book titles. I said thank you, that was really nice, and got him another coffee.
Then I went out and drank and also hugged some people. Things could be worse, is what I’m saying.