Friday, April 15, 2011

True Life: I am working retail

A few months ago it was clear this whole homeownership gig was going to be a LOT MORE MONEY than we planned. And we planned for a lot of stuff, but who can imagine a house with brand new windows would *literally* be 61 degrees all winter? No matter how much one pumps the heat, frigid we remain. I finally feel justified when I go to REI for high quality ski gear.

Thus, I got another job. Have I already told you this? (Side note: I'm going to put it all out there today and tell you that this new, sent-from-heaven medicine called Pristiq also affects my memory. I am upbeat, energetic, not depressed, which is the point (!!), but boy do I forget my thought in the middle of the sentence. Time will tell if this side effect is tolerable. But for now: spacey!)

What was I saying? Just kidding, I looked at my last paragraph for a refresher. I got another job. I'm making coffee at a new little shop in South Lake Union called Kakao. (Please don't stalk me if you're a weirdo.)

I LOVE IT. But first I hated it. First of all, I haven't really been a coffee drinker since I am so naturally energetic. Duh! So I didn't feel confident in terms of what the drinks should taste like, or what people meant when they said no foam. Foam? Like a mattress? What was I saying? This was also compounded by some very, very low expectations set for me by my friend Rory.

"I promise you that all you need to know about making lattes can be learned in one afternoon."

Maybe the fact that Rory is my age, has a master's in creative writing, likes to do calculus for FUN (Still? Who does that?), and has a column for McSweeney's should have tipped me off that my learning curve might be steeper. But it didn't. Because I am not depressed but spacey. Unlike Rory, who has his career in the bag and kicks ass.

After several miserable training sessions, from which I left covered in scalded milk and espresso stained fingernails, I nearly quit. I even planned a little speech about why the bus schedule had changed (it did), but somehow I persevered. Just kidding, we were just desperate for the money!

But it got better. Little by little, I got the hang of steaming milk. And I have learned all about the bouquet of espresso, and thanks to the early mornings, my body is happy for the caffeine. One day someone ordered a breve and I had to stick my head under the counter and pretend to look for lids, but actually I was googling breve. But nobody caught me, and that lady left happy.

Best of all, I have made lovely friends. The fellow baristas are my new favorite people--they are all in grad school and inspire me to get gutsy with my vocation--and the customers. I think baristas in Seattle serve more as bartending therapists more than I knew. What to say to all the Amazon employees that think nothing of coming TWICE a day for a $4.00 latte and a heart to heart?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


The Ingrams said...

Oh my gosh. I love this post. Well, actually, I love all your posts. And I LOVE you!

Lindsey Burgess said...

Wait,... maybe I want to work retail....

Diane Harris, Interactive Editor said...

LOL, yet again.