Definitely started getting sick yesterday and woke up to a cold today. I got started late and decided to hit the the Holy Roast coffee shop (I’d question the name but I don’t have the energy) in Santa Rosa before I left town. The kid behind the register looked like a Southern California version of a guy I worked with on Wizard of Oz. He had long braids, wide open brown eyes, a sweet manner, no ability to do his job and no awareness of a problem.
So Cal Kid: Good morning! Can I help you?
Me: Can I get an Americano and a yogurt parfait? And change for the meter?
SCK: Of course! Oh, wait. We don’t have much change. I may not be able to give you change.
Silent face off while I look at him working in a coffee shop surrounded only by metered parking with no change at 9AM and no options. He looks at me quietly. Sweetly. Silently. Probably just waiting for me to speak. So I did:
Me: can we make change out of your tip jar?
SCK: oooh, I don’t know. (He looks at his compatriot coffee maker. She must do all the heavy lifting in the thinking department. She nods.) Oh, OK!
He digs out change.
SCK: thanks so much! Have a great day!
SCK: Oh right!
He gets yogurt out of the case. Sets it down. Walks away. I pick it up and it’s sticky all down the side. I go to the coffee station and they are out of napkins. I go back to the front.
SCK: (sweetly) Good morning! Can I help you?
Me: Do you have napkins? I’m sorry. There aren’t any in the coffee station and it’s all sticky…
SCK: Oh goodness! Let me clean that off.
He does and returns it to me with napkins.
I pick it up and go back to the coffee station for a spoon. They are out of spoons. I go back to the front counter.
SCK: (sweetly) Can I help you?
(He seems to have a reset button wherein he neither remembers me nor gets annoyed nor has any ability to forsee my questions)
Me: I’m so sorry. Can I get a spoon?
SCK: Of course!
He brings me a spoon. By this point I have to feed the meter again because this process has taken 15 minutes and I only planned to be there for 30. I run out, leaving all my stuff in the shop, shove change into the meter and come back in with a flood of people. I sit down at my table and realize I never got my coffee.
The very LAST thing I want is to see this kid again. Ever. But he’s plugged into a brain wipe and doesn’t remember that I exist or that I ordered coffee so I have to go back up and remind him.
He sees me come back up to the counter and get in line behind the flood of people but only attends to the kids in front of me. In every case, he rings people up, hands them change and cheerily tells them to have a good day while they stand there awkwardly and wait for him to remember that they ordered things. Then they remind him. Then he acts surprised, like “Oh, is that what we do here!?” and scrambles to get their food. But he’s so sweet natured about it that people laugh instead of getting annoyed. Is this a super power? I have to think so.
When I get up to the counter (now my 4th time in 20 minutes) he has that look that says he recognizes me but can’t figure out from where. Then he smiles:
SCK: can I help you??
Me: I ordered coffee.
SCK: Oh! Riiiiight.
Me: I didn’t get it.
SCK: Oh! Ok. Um. What was it?
I suppress a strong temptation to say “a pound of your most expensive coffee and a large Americano with 5 shots” knowing that he won’t remember and will just give it to me and wish me a great day (again). But his coffee compatriot sweeps him aside at this point and says, “Americano, right?”
Then she makes it.
Then she gives it to me.
And it takes about a minute.
Well, 26 minutes, actually. But about a minute of actual work on someone else’s part.
I fed the meter again, had breakfast and left.
Santa Rosa, I don’t know what you’re putting in your water but you might want to stop.
The rest of the day was long but beautiful. Here’s Highway 1 through northern California:
This little nondenominational meditation chapel sits outside Sea Ranch, CA. I don’t know what it’s supposed to resemble, but someone called it the “conquistador helmet church” and I like that.
And then back to the ocean…
And the mountains:
Don’t you wish you’d been there?
See you then.