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second day of spring

March 21, 2012

The second day of spring. Hot. Dull. My mind wandering to everywhere but here, an almost empty cafe in a sprawling suburb of Detroit. I love coffee, but I hate feeling trapped. I wish I could go outside and enjoy the breeze. At least the nighttime ride home should be pleasant. I heard it snowed it Portland. Just doesn’t seem right.

I’ve come to dread the sound of the heavy, squeaking front door, the terror of another customer. It’s the anticipation that makes me uneasy. Once they place their order and I start to make it, I’m fine. But the waiting and not knowing, the fear it’s going to be a big order, or something I don’t know how to make… It’s really kind of silly, and I have no idea why it stresses me out so much. Another sign that I may have some kind of social anxiety disorder, perhaps.

Why I’m sipping hot coffee on such a hot day eludes me, as well. We’ve got plenty of cold coffee in the cooler. There’s just something about a hot cup of coffee that I can’t resist. It borders on an obsession. I remember one time when I actually flipped out and angrily declared that coffee was the only pleasure I still had left in life. I can be such a melodramatic idiot sometimes, a perfect poster child for the ‘first world problems’ meme.

And yet I manage to get by, my social anxiety or whatever it is that makes me want to run and hide whenever somebody new walks in notwithstanding. I can fake a smile if I have to. I can be polite. I can make a decent espresso. It’s almost a labour of love. I love coffee. I love being useful. I love making people happy. And I’ve always loved coffee shops, those traditional meeting places of artists, writers, lovers, thinkers, revolutionaries, and misanthropes of all sorts. I love being a barista, even unofficially in my volunteer capacity. It’s a badge of pride, useless as it is.

So hot. Can’t wait for that bike ride home. The cool night air. The solitude. John Adams on my iPod. The promise of a new day just around the corner. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Maybe just another dull, hot day. But maybe, just maybe, something a little more. And I’ll be there, ready, waiting, with a coffee in my hand and smile on my face. Maybe even a genuine one.

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