Sunday, October 19, 2008

The human spectrum

I like running the register at the coffee shop where I work because it means that I get to interact with people.

Poet Walt Whitman explored the idea of "urban affection:" Sharing meaningful experiences with people you've never met and will likely never meet again. I've been really intrigued by this idea because it plays out frequently at my job. Here's an example.

We sell these tasty apple dumpling desserts that feature a baked, sliced apple with cinnamon and other delectable delights inside a pastry shell with butterscotch sauce drizzled on top. The other day, two middle-aged women came up to the register, and one of them shot a wanting glance at the dessert case. Deciding not to buy one, she placed her order and left the register.

Her friend came up next and ordered a cup of coffee and a cookie. Then she added confidentially, "And put one those apple dumplings on there for my friend."

Working in the coffee shop has shown me that basic kindness can go a long way in just making people feel good about themselves. It just makes daily life more pleasant. People that come in are often stressed out or in a hurry, and going out of your way to do something simple for them can be an unexpected surprise that gets them to forget about the worries of the grind.


Anonymous said...

you have a soul.

Anonymous said...

i like your servant heart. i'm way to selfish to care about people in that way.

Anonymous said...

i meant to say "too." shit.

colleen marie. said...

mmm urban affection. i like that.

i miss working in a coffee shop because, like you said, of all the random people that you will encounter. there is just something great about meeting people from all walks of life, and getting to really see a piece their life for even just a second.