Listening

Today was another astonishing day at the coffeeshop, so much happened today that it could easily be a series of novels, yet I’ll never exhaust it all, and that’s OK. There’s always a world of unknowns and possiblilities, byways and circumstances, that could change at any time. Sometimes we reach the end of something, or a stray moment of conversation, that bends our worlds into different realities that could have changed at any time. Nothing is taken for granted when I think about this place. The moment I enter I dedicate my entire being to it. I don’t even really drink coffee on duty any more. I’m just giving it my all. Someone mentioned to me that they were sorry I had to work. There’s nothing I would rather do. This is more than a job to me. This is the greatest way I can give a sense of hope, and hey, I’m not even the one making the coffee. I’m just listening. And that was the coolest part of the day that I learned as the hours and hours of dedicated, active study and learning coalesced into a final silent crescendo in my mind as a new reality burst forth.

I was having a hard time with the weird UI of the ordering screens, I came up in my mind with different designs of how the system could be improved. I imagined a cloud structure, asynchronous, that would be self formulating as a sentence structure of incongrous desires could culminate into a single coffee order. Then I though about building a presentation of this and sending it to my manager to see if they could get the company interested in it. I thought about this throughout the day, and then someone asked me to write down the names of the customers as I was handing out the bakery orders to be filled. So I took the pen, kept writing, and then kept it out. On the next order I instinctively grabbed it and started to prepare to write something down, and then they explained what they wanted wildly out of sequence, so I just wrote everything in a flurry of phrases, just as it was said, and then I realized that I was the algorithm. I used each part of the sentence structure and inputted it into the simplified system, and intently thought about each moment and repeated it back to them, and the weird thing was I noticed the first few times I did this people really reacted more than at any time I had just inputted the orders in the system. It’s a tangible, real act of caring.

And that’s when everything changed. When I got off my shift I sat down and gathered my thoughts, and then I went right in to see what I could order to help me out. Turns out what I was looking for was a reporters notebook, so I ordered several, that should be here next week. That’s how I’ll be taking notice of these orders as they reach me, so I’m better able to care for both the team and anyone who entruststs this solmen wonderful act: the coffee experience, to me whenever I’m on shift. Today was hard but it was amazing. And I can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow to help out again. If I made any mistakes today they won’t be repeated. This was the first training day I needed that wasn’t that elegant but wasn’t too bad. That’s the details of the day, but nothing can really describe it unless you’re on the inside.

I hope everyone in the coffeeshop knows that I try to hand out the orders as much as I can. I love setting down a cup and seeing someone pick one up. That’s when I really know that we helped out in bringing hope into the world. Seeing people so excited by what we do is something that really stirs my soul. It’s the greatest experience. I’ll be back at it tomorrow, and this time I know exactly what to do, and I’ll be listening, as an act of radical love. I’ve written this down so many times now, in paint and writing and line, and in the course of my actions as an invisible arc of motion throughout the day: coffee is love, and I hope the world’s a little warmer, and even a bit cooler, from the work we did today.

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