Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Fragments From Last Week


Today was my dad's second surgery of the summer. The first was on his neck, this one was to remove a troublesomely cancerous little gland. I got a call from my mom at around noon, she told me that the surgery had gone perfectly and he was in recovery. Between talking to her yesterday and talking to her today it had slipped my mind that it was even happening. I can be quite forgetful like that.

My sister, on the other hand, was panicked. She worries a lot. I don't worry much at all. It wasn't terribly major surgery, nothing like the tinkering around with the spinal column that he underwent earlier. But all the same... how could I be so cold as to completely forget it was happening?


As of last Monday I have a Manager's license. The only thing that this really officially changes is in giving the cafe manager more scheduling freedom-- I no longer have to work with somebody else who has the license. Practically, it means that I can close with the new hire. Since I've been working there longer, this meant finally learning to close out the register and clean and stock behind the counter. It's a nice change, as stocking and cleaning the front had become a bit monotonous. But now when I close with people who have worked there longer they want me doing behind the counter so they can enjoy the change of pace. It works for both of us, but for how much longer?

Temporary Imbecility

There's this one very pretty girl who comes into the cafe regularly. She is, in my opinion, one of the two or three most attractive women I've seen there. Sometimes she's there with a bald guy I suspect might be her boyfriend. But she's obviously noticed me noticing her, and lately when she comes in there is significant eye contact.

Eye contact is about as far as it goes, however, as my brain seems to shut down in her presence. I get befuddled and can barely ring up her order, barely make her drink without forgetting what it was I was in the middle of doing. She walks in and with each step she makes toward the counter I can feel my IQ dropping by five points.

My coworkers, ever helpful souls that they are, have noticed this and have taken to giving me a hard time for not making conversation. A some-months-absent regular was curious last weekend to know what the new ribbing was about, so I explained the situation. When she didn't know which customer I meant, I attempted to give her a physical description. Five minutes later the very customer I had just been describing, who I thought had taken her drink and gone elsewhere, but who had apparently been sitting at a table by the front window not visible from the counter, got up to leave.

So now I'm wondering if she heard the whole conversation... and whether that would be a good thing or not.

Free Plan

I was indie as all shit on Sunday. I brought a Sleater-Kinney album to play during my shift and wore my "The Dismemberment Plan Loves Me More" T-shirt. A few of the regulars noticed it, and asked me if I was a fan. Turns out they work at the 930 Club, where the Plan themselves will be playing their final show on Labor Day. They asked if I wanted on the guest list. Being indie as shit pays off!

Free Time and Free Coffee

Today I had a day off from work after closing five nights in a row. Tomorrow morning I have to go to a class for my new license, then work that afternoon through closing. I don't get another day off until Friday, at which point I should go visit my dad if he's back home from the hospital (and then maybe sneak off to a pirate movie in the evening).

But today was my day off. And I spent it getting dragged to the cafe by my friends. At least I got my coffee for free. And I also got to gloat preemptively when M. insisted that Salma Hayek got her big break starring in "Selena," despite my continued assertion that it was in fact Jennifer Lopez. "I'll check on it when I get to work." Then they went off and I headed off to Adams-Morgan to return a tape and buy some CDs.

On my way back home from this the sky began out of nowhere to darken. Then rain began spitting down. Then came steadily. I ducked into the nearest doorway just before it became a torrential thunderstorm that flooded the gutters and washed over the sidewalk. The nearest door? A new cafe that had just opened the day before. So I sat down and paid for an espresso for the first time in months. A woman at the next table commented on the weather and I explained this irony to her, only to learn that she was a manager there. Excited to meet a fellow coffee professional, she introduced me to another manager, who in his turn offered me a free cup of their drip coffee to see what I thought: "We're still trying to get the grind right-- this morning the decaf was just way too strong."
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