I left home at 7:15 am this morning and arrived back at 5:30 pm. The hours in between, less 40 minutes spent biking each way, were spent behind the counter at a coffee shop. I've spent thousands of hour and dollars in coffee shops all over this country, and in particular corners of several other countries.
I have tasted some truly amazing coffee in those shops, and I've swallowed down some truly awful nonsense.
And yet, before today, I had no idea what it takes to run a cafe.
As a customer, my 47 seconds with the barista are brief, efficient, pleasant, and usually followed by several hours of relative relaxation.
As a barista today, I experience those same 47 seconds brief, efficient, pleasant - only this time, that one interaction was immediately followed by several dozen more.
Each individual unit - brief, efficient, pleasant, for sure.
And the whole?
When I got home I could barely muster the energy to reheat frozen tamales.
What would I be like if I understood the kind of work it takes to maintain my lifestyle?
I now understand, a bit, what it's like to make my coffee.
What about changing my oil?
Fixing my bike?
Building my laptop?
I won't pretend to know how I would change, but I will claim to know that I would change.
I don't know who I would be, but I know I would be different.