Nothing starts my day off amazing like the service people I pass along the way to work. I toiled as a barista full-time for a year after college and continued to work at the same independent coffee shop part-time for three years while I made no money working at my first non-profit job. I began my working life as a waitress at ‘Village Inn’ which is Nebraska’s version of Denny’s. I worked at Applebee’s and sang stupid birthday songs, I rang up liquor and beer in a dive on the outskirts of my college town, and spent two years as a lifeguard.
My cultural anthropology from these experiences is rich. I have found that in general, the ‘public’ are assholes. They treat the people in service positions with disdain, disrespect, and generally assume that they are uneducated and unworthy of their kindness. I had to bite my tongue on many an occasion. My favorite story to illustrate a point is a lady being amazed at me being able to do math in my head to ring up her latte and scone. Another is the guy pulling up in his Lexus and then arguing with me when I attempted to charge him full price for a cup of coffee and calling me a liar when I assured him that it was not a refill and I saw him grab a new cup. Wow.
Anyway, this was meant to be uplifting! The reason I get so excited and smile and walk with a bounce in my step after seeing a wise-cracking bus driver and a friendly, amazingly-skilled craftsperson is because I know what it takes to let the rude comments and behavior that inevitably happen roll off your back. I was horrible at it! I took it personally. These bastions of sunshine have to put in 200% effort to remain 100% cheery. And I appreciate the effort.