If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, as an espresso bar barista, I’ve been scooping up more ice cream than making any sort of coffee drink…by far. From there, I’d probably spend a few short minutes complaining about how unbelievably sore my right arm is from completing that task about seventy-five times within an hour (five scoops per twenty ounce milkshake and I surely made fifteen, if not more).
If we were having coffee, I’d have to explain to you how the espresso bar I work in is actually located inside a gas station. It’s a pretty nice gas station, as gas stations go, and, along with the espresso bar, there’s also a full deli where customers can get hot food. It’s a hot spot for lunch and yesterday, Friday, was hopping. There’s a special the deli offers that includes a twenty ounce milkshake or a smoothie with the meal so, naturally, right after customers get their food to go, they come our way. There were three of us behind the counter at one point all vying for the two blenders (something we desperately need at least two more of) to make either another smoothie or milkshake order. Mostly milkshakes yesterday. I’d tell you that, to make matters worse, my utter dependency on the recipe binder (It was my third day, I definitely DON’T have all the recipes memorized yet) slowed us down a bit. Well, at least I can say I can now make chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and oreo milkshakes without the binder after yesterday…but those are basically the easiest recipes anyhow. I’d probably then say something along the lines of, “Welp, we all have to start somewhere.” After that, I’d finally remember to point out–since I got side tracked with the milkshakes–that there’s also a restaurant next door that happens to be owned by the same people as the gas station. And hey, guess what? We also make all the milkshakes, smoothies, and lemonades for them. They don’t serve coffee over there, thankfully.
In a nutshell, My place of employment is basically two places of employment and I’m always on my feet
If we were having coffee, I’d talk about how much I didn’t realize baristas had to do besides making coffee and being friendly to customers. We have to do behind the scenes stuff–from stocking up on goods behind the counter to baking cookies and other baked goods to be sold throughout the gas station. I’d talk about how there’s so much to do and not enough time to do it–even with the few hours of down time between the steady stream of coffee drinkers in the morning and the lunch rush that starts around 11:30 am and only died down near 1 pm yesterday. There’s so little time for down time. I didn’t even have time for lunch yesterday.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that despite how busy it is, I’m enjoying my work. My arm feels like it’s going to fall off and my feet–in fact, my legs in general–are sore from standing constantly for so many hours on end. That said, I’m finding this overwhelming satisfaction in working with my hands, making drinks, and hopefully making customers’ days better with a friendly smile and a made to order drink–I left work both Thursday and Friday feeling absolutely elated at all I’d accomplished. I’d tell you that I still have a lot to master–and that doesn’t even count the recipe binder–and it’s super tiring, but I can already tell this is going to be an increidble experience. My coworkers are friendly and helpful. The environment is upbeat. I’m in a prime location for people watching, which is certainly fun. Music plays all day long in the gas station, and even though it’s all the popular songs of the moment and can get awfully repetitive, at least I know them and can sing along while working. 🙂 I’d talk about how I’m in a very open environment and must put myself out there, yet when I’m stocking the shelves or wiping off counters or making up more toddy for tomorrow, I’m able to be almost completely in my head (though not totally, as I must watch for customers). That said, I’m finding an alright balance between my extrovert self and my introvert self, which is surprising since I expected to be so much more drained than I have been. It’s not like I’m ready to go out to the bar and have a dance party after work–I still want to go home and read a book and binge watch Gilmore Girls–but the introvert in me is holding up,
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer. Quite truly. Do I want to do this for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. It’s fullfilling me now, though. My job as a barista is such a relieving change from academia. I love school and I love learning, but I’ve been needing a break from that atmosphere for a while now…and I think this job might just be what the doctor ordered.
If we were having coffee, I’d end by saying that I have my first shift working alone without anyone else working the espresso bar today, something I’m kind of nervous for. I’d explain that after three days of working six hour shifts, I’ll be moving permanently to an eight hour shift on Monday–something I’m nervous for just because this job is so physically exhausting. I’d hope you’d reassure me that everything will be fine, that I have the recipe binder and the behind the counter to-do list for tomorrow, and that eight is only two more than six so how bad can it be?
And then, after spilling everything about these first grueling but rewarding days at work, I’d ask, do you have anything to share over coffee?
This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link up at Part Time Monster.