A couple months ago, my Very Social Friend moved in with us, so I’ll now call her Housemate. That’s better than Garage Dweller which is the random name The Narrator came up with. Somehow, there was some confusion on a few people’s part as to where she was living with us. We have a room BEHIND our garage that is really quite cool and has been our guest room and also where The Narrator’s sister lived for a year. Somehow, a few people thought she was living IN our garage. Now, to un-confuse things, it is really quite common in Florida for people to turn their garages into actual living spaces. We however, have not, but there’s a room BEHIND the garage that is living space. In the midst of said confusion, the joke became that Housemate was our “Garage Dweller.” At any rate, the point of that ramble was to tell you that part of Housemate’s “rent” is 2 date nights a month for us. WHOHOOO!!!
So, last night, we had our first date night of 2009, and we opted to see a movie at the mall on the other side of town (because the movie theater close to us is dominated by middle schoolers who talk and text during all movies!). We grabbed some Starbucks before heading into the movie, and I had the rare chance to people watch while waiting for my drink. This is something I’ve always enjoyed, but rarely get to do anymore. Ever since having kids, I have become the one being watched as I work my way through the grocery check out line making sure I’m only paying for what I put in the cart, not extra candy grabbed by quick little hands when the eyes in the back of my head blinked.
In the few minutes I stood in Starbucks waiting for my drink I saw a dozen people – all trying to be somebody. Sometimes it’s obvious by the clothes and hair color that people are trying to be younger or cooler or look thinner. But then there was this Barista boisterously announcing the drinks: “Story Girl, skinny tall latte!!” I’d never heard anyone proclaim quite so loudly exactly what the drinks were, and I was suddenly self-consciously glad that I had chosen something skinny, rather than fat! Can you imagine? “Story Girl, full fat Grande Latte with sugary caramel and full fat whip cream!!” Maybe I exaggerate a little… The Boisterous Barista appeared to be enjoying her job, and by the way she had her hair swept to one side and her hat sitting high on her head and slightly angled, it seemed she wanted you to have no doubt that she was different. She was not your average Barista, and not one we’d soon forget as I saw several customers smiling and chuckling as she announced their drink. When Charlie said “thank you” as he took his drink she just as boisterously proclaimed, “You are welcome, Chaaarlie!” Whoever she’s trying to be, she’s having a fun time doing it and is unconcerned with what anyone else thinks.
As I left the store and headed up the escalator to the theater I caught my reflection in a store window and wondered – who am I trying to be? What might it look like I’m trying to be? I get tired of trying to keep up with whatever it is we are trying to keep up with. In the past year I’ve come to accept that I’m getting older and more mature and it’s ok to have a few wrinkles to show for it. I really just want to be the best me that I can be at every stage of life. I want to best utilize the gifts and the time that I have to help make the world around me a bit more loving. And so if I were ever a Barista again (which I did in college and loved!). I think I’d be a Boisterous Barista too, just to make a few people smile and remember it’s ok to love where you’re at and what you’re doing.