Monday, August 15, 2011

20-Minute Monday: Coffee dream

Yesterday afternoon it was drizzling and muggy outside and I was on Newbury Street and inside L'Aroma Cafe, ordering an iced red eye and looking at the help wanted sign.  At that moment I really, really wanted to just say, "I'll do it.  I'll pull espressos and dish quiche for 9 bucks an hour alongside a bevy of open-faced college kids, all completely hipper than thou (and me)."

The place is cozy and bustling.  The manual labor once again -- says she of the years of table-waiting provenance -- seemed like it might be cathartic and relaxing all at once.  My feet would probably blister over from standing long shifts like that again ... my back too.  (Student Driver, who works in hospitality and would love to get out, confirms this job doesn't get better with age.)

But I've always envisioned working as a barista, especially in a pseudo-European stop-off like L'Aroma, as a great romantic ideal:  tossing a decent (and decent-paying) job for cheap living and the adrenaline and good company of a coffee shop.  Kind of like in the movie In Her Shoes ... when Toni Collette's dowdy, uptight corporate lawyer quits the firm and hurls into life as a dog walker.   A move that puts apples in her cheeks, loses her 20 pounds, and gives her courage to relax and persuade her (extremely) hot male friend to date and marry her.

Yeah. It's a chick flick: idealized, unrealistic in its happy ending.  I still kind of want it, though.  Even if could physically walk 5 dogs at once.  Even I could afford to do it.

This afternoon I took a break at Starbucks for a hang with Claudia ... and, otherwise lacking a notebook, thought it would be cute to steal recyclable beverage napkins to write this post on. Then Claudia and I got (predictably) chatty and I had to get back to the office without doing so. Now I'm sitting here after the closing bell, in my office's 28th floor lobby, its windows covered in water, the Charles obscured by the mist rising from the downpour coming down for hours already.  Starbucks naps are not only proving impractical (lots of ballpoint drag), but now feel precious and not worth the effort.  So I'm writing my wanna-be-barista post on a corporate-themed notepad, in a leather armchair, dry, mentally preparing for yoga, enjoying the comfortable view, and realizing I'm also kind of OK where I'm at.

The napkins will do fine with tomorrow's oatmeal.
-- Monday, August 15 (5:20 - 5:37 p.m.)
the 28th Floor

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