"It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?"
Today was a good day. I worked a full shift and boy was it FULL! For a moment in the afternoon it slowed down and I glanced out at the people who were in my Starbucks store. I watched as a woman about my age walked out clutching her beverages, hurrying past the elderly couple who come in most afternoons taking a table for two against the window, paper napkins spread out on the table under the sandwiches she makes at home, their Venti 1- tea bag Tazo Awake Hot Black Teas towering between them as they watch the world go by; a 10 year old-ish boy circled the display near them, his father perused the retail merchandise on a nearby shelf, and a young couple stood snuggling in the corner behind him waiting for their beverages to be crafted and called out by our fiery red-headed barista (the real red-head, not the "out of a box" one).
I felt empathetic - sensing a bit of what their visit to the little corner of the world I like to call work was for them. I remembered how much I enjoyed stopping into the SJC Starbucks on an almost daily basis for my favorite boss of all time, Leslie. I felt the importance of my "silly little job"- I felt a desire to provide an "experience" for them.
The man and his son reached the counter and set an orange traveller mug down on the counter. I asked if it was a gift for Mothers Day to which dad answered yes a little sheepishly, I could tell he would have liked to do more. as I poured his Tall Coffee I mentioned our pretty pink flowery gift cards and the new rewards program that went with them and asked if he'd like to get her one so she could fill up her new cup. He asked about registering it and I knowledgeably explained the process to him (having just done one for Grace so she can buy her own Frappucinos!) as we were talking I asked if he wanted it bagged with some tissue paper and managed to quickly whip out a presentable looking present and lent him my pen so he and his son could sign the gift sleeve of the lucky mom's new Starbucks Card. I felt like I was in a training video as he said goodbye and my next customer (a regular) stepped up and I greeted her by name, writing out a cup from memory as she commented on my haircut and how becoming it was (I have once again embraced the curl!)
Just moments later, as I transitioned onto "the bar" to "steam milk", "pull shots", and "blend Frappucinos", a darling little face popped up at the handoff counter. Grace and Shawn stopped in to pick up the milk that I had pumped on my break- a quick 30 minutes which I divided between the aforementioned labor of love and sitting on the patio with my MP3 player eating Daphne's pita & fire feta appetizer. After I finished making the lattes, a caramel macchiato and iced mocha that had lined up along the shiny stainless steel strip that runs in front of the Verismo 801- I grabbed the bottle from my purse, handed it to hubby and kissed my family before "sliding" back to my originally "deployed" position at the register. (Don't you love the lingo that goes with any large company?)
I survived the drama filled afternoon- the politics that go with the personalities that my paycheck provider attracts- and connected with a partner who was recently promoted, admiring his ability to be pleasant and professional under pressure.
After I got off I sat in the sun with my "partner beverage" (aka free drink!) an "upside down" iced caramel macchiato and blared Jason Mraz's Mr A- Z straight to my brain while completing a crossword puzzle, sitting cross-legged in the sun waiting for Shawn to pick me up. My knight arrived in our shining vehicle- almost completely clean, with barely any bundles of baby baggage or lingering litter from a little girl. We came "home" (where the heart is) and I sat out front nursing little Joy-Joy as G & Shawn finished vacuuming and polishing the car.
This part of my life... this part right here? This is called "happyness."