Two Days in the Coffeeshop

I woke up this morning at four am at complete peace, getting together my things for the day. An hour later I was in the car driving to the coffeeshop where I work, that I believe so much in. In the span of a few days I was actually working at one of the most loved coffeeshops in the bay area, and I didn’t take a single moment of it lightly. All the fear of the pandemic, all the vastness disappeared into the morning air, as our small team prepared to open the coffee shop. It was still dark outside. It was my second day. A few days earlier I was studying the UN, seeing the vastness of the world, but when I started at the coffeeshop things seemed so much simpler. What world crisis, I thought. We needed to open the space in a series of actions and movements that were just as much about science as they were about anything else.

After really meeting people and having a first rush of solidarity, Nothing was discusssed in the early morning as we raced to get the shop ready to open, and even as we made our final adjustments there were already people at the door, and something happened. My heart burst open. It burst open at bieng finally able to give a small gift in a cup, and some food, to anyone who wanted it from us. It was so peaceful. It was joyful. These actions of the shop were as complex as statecraft, as open as a vastness within, that I tried to give any time it was asked of me. I needed to dart through different tasks throughout the day, cooking food, making drinks, preparing coffee in a grinder and restocking everything the baristas need. We almost read each others minds. I was looking for a pen to write something down, suddenly someone gave one to me. We’re a team. We’re looking out for each other and teaching at any moment we have. I took half my lunchbreak off because I loved the job so much.

You never know before you work at a place like this, just how much syncronicity it takes. It’s exhilarating to be working here. And the fact that we’re working at such a high level throughout the day to do one thing: provide people with a cup of pure joy that can dispell all the fear of the pandemic. In my mind, to make a better day. It’s no small thing. If you ever visit our shop, know how much we’re doing for you. I’ve been given so much hope by Peets, and I try to redirect that hope back anytime I’m making things for you.

My partner asked me tonight what my favorite part of the job was tonight, asking me about my day. For me I loved all of it. I loved being so new to something that I finally had a chance to really learn something difficult and new. My favorite part of the day was after the emergenices had worn down, when our customers had had all of their wishes from us as the day went on and the orders slowed down, and suddenly, there was no one in the store. I felt the silence, just listening to the sound of the team, the layind down of a glass, a sound of a steamer, and I took my apron off, grabbed a towel and carefully, after safety instructions, stepped out onto the floor.

There was one person seated, a few outside. The world drifted away momentarly as I cleaned off the tables, watching the light as it reflected around the beautiful, open space. I didn’t stop to even think about anything, my mind was in pure action, watching the world in the space of the quiet of the afternoon, the feeling of peace that I had done all I could to make the day better, and today, no disasters. I heard more in these moments than at all of the speeches of the UN. Just knowing that people would be a little warmer from the things we make, as creative as love, as exact as a science. The day went by so fast that I barely remember it, even as I write.

But as I was leaving for the day I realized I needed something for our home, so I walked our into the shop just like anyone else would we had helped that day. I couldn’t find the ones I was looking for. One of the baristas stepped out and helped me find it, and then I paid for my coffee and turned around to go. It seemed so easy, just completely normal, so fast, that it seemed so simple. But now I know that it never was. I just didn’t know before, and I hope I never forget. Every day at the shop is like an ocean, and the true beauty of that moment happens: The moment the exhange is made.

There is nothing better than making something for someone. There is nothing better than giving something to someone that you think is the best thing in the world. I’ll never look at coffee the same way ever again. I’ll never take it for granted. The world is so simple. The world is complex. And there is so much love given when I make coffee for the people who visit us. A small cup of coffee is the greatest hope I can give to anyone. It dispels my fear. It makes the trip in the early morning, the work that keeps the shop from collapse, worth every minute. And I’m starting to see just what that takes. The farmers, the designers, everyone, so many people, that create the small moment of joy of what we give. I’m still learning, but if I work at Peets for the rest of my life, or as little as a single day, I’ve learned something I know feel deep within me. When we work together, we can change the world. You never know that before you’re working with a team so focused, dedicatedly, with so much passion, on one single thing: tangible, real hope, to bring again, and again, every day.

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