My birthday. 73rd. Not a significant number. The folks at the coffee shop I frequent gave me a cupcake but they didn’t have any candles. No charge for the cupcake, though. The place has become a second home of sorts. Recently, I had a serious sugar crash while I was there. Couldn’t even get up from the table. I signaled the manager who kept the large orange juice coming until I recovered and had the good grace not to hover. Wouldn’t accept payment when I recovered enough to make it to the cash register.
The café has become rather like “Cheers” for me. “Where everybody knows your name.” The staff all know me and if they’re new they get told who I am (not that I am “somebody).” They address me as “Dr. Frost” or “hey” and have my coffee mug and muffin ready when I come in the door. My daily visits have become a serious habit though and I suppose I could be doing better things with my time. Can’t think of anything at this moment. I do get a book read there in a week or so.
Today I finished an account of the Restoration reign of Charles II. A young woman barista said, “Now you need to find a book about the reign of William and Mary. You know they followed the short reign of James II.” As it happened, I *did* know that, but I was delighted that *she* knew that. I don’t know why she’s working serving lattes. I suppose that is the lot many college grads (I’m assuming she is) these days. But a knowledge of the reigns of the kings and queens of England is hardly marketable these days. Well, intelligent life forms are it part of the charm of the place.
I do wish some of the younger staff would stop calling me “sweetie,” though. It makes me feel as if I may have dandruff on my collar, need a haircut and am usually confused about where the door is. I lived in Princeton, New Jersey for several years and had my “local” there also, just off Nassau Street. There I heard the story of the server who consistently referred to the elderly gentleman who came in frequently for coffee. Finally, the manager overheard her, took her aside and said, “If Ihear you call Dr. Einstein “sweetie” again you’ll be fired.”
Personally, I don’t think Dr. Einstein noticed and if he did I doubt that he cared. If fact, from what I know of him, he likely appreciated being addressed so kindly by a comely young lady. And it was especially important in that town that everyone pretend not to notice that a world-famous person had come in to join for awhile in an ordinary company of ordinary persons.
The bottom line is, it’s not about the coffee.