47 Seconds

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?

Utterly exhausting.

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.