Saturday, January 12, 2013

Belated New Years Resolution

    Alright, it's time to buckle down. I quit my job just before Christmas, retired from the coffee biz to "focus on my writing," whatever that means. Until yesterday it meant sleeping in--because I can, finally getting up around 8 or 8:30, cleaning, doing laundry and getting coffee with my mom. I've been lazy, I'm not gonna lie.
    By the way, if 8:30 doesn't sound like sleeping in it's because you are not or have never been a barista. I opened 6am, five days a week for two whole years. My boyfriend has it even worse--shift starts 4:30am to open the meat department at Whole Foods (which is why I am writing this at 4:02 in the morning). Anyway, he's the only reason I was able to quit my job to take this little writing vacation in the first place.
     I've resolved (twelve days too late... no matter) not to take any more advantage of my time off, and my hard-working meat-cutting persevering boyfriend. I am going to do so by syncing up our "shifts," so if he starts at 4:30am, so do I.
     Usually by now I'd be hitting the weed, trying to force myself back to sleep for a few hours. I get stuck in this awkward limbo between 4 and 5, finally back to sleep by six, for maybe one good solid hour, and then a bunch of broken up semi-sleep until 8ish, and then a groggy fruitless rest of the day. Even worse, every time my head hits the pillow it becomes abuzz with ideas, and things I want to write down or remember for later, but my arms are too lazy, and I'm too cozy to care.
     But I forgot the one thing Americans can always count on when they're caught in that awkward limbo in-between state, half-asleep half-awake: coffee! Perfect! And lucky for me I salvaged a five pound bag of espresso beans on my last day at La Bou that arrived already open and we couldn't use or sell. Thank you, Equator, for your poor packaging.
     Unfortunately, the only grinder I have is this ancient wooden box, I gotta grind the beans by hand, and there's no drawer to catch the grinds, so I put a tiny saucer to catch them instead. About a third of the grounds make it onto said saucer. It's really quite the ordeal, but worth it. I've still gotta get my fix.

     Alright. Coffee is ready, and so am I! Here goes nothing.
     So I've decided, in efforts to become a more efficient useful person, I ought to apply my barista skills to my home life. I mean I already do this to some extent--always collapse the plastic milk containers to save space in the recycling, for instance. Although this is much more fun with a steamer, so when you collapse the milk container a cloud of steam escapes, like a facial.
     But collapsing milk isn't the only skill I perfected in the coffee biz. In fact, my work ethic was better at the bakery in a lot of ways. I was very timely, cranking out lattes in less than a minute, a master multi-tasker, but when it comes to my writing, it's a miracle if I get a single assignment in on time, or at all for that matter. I was blessed with easy teachers, lucky for me. Dakota, I'm missing three quarters of your portfolio... but I bet if you did it, it would have been good. I'll just give you a B. (That may have been slightly oversimplified.)
     I was always an avid procrastinator. Well that's less the case now than it used to be. Getting paid helps, even if it is only ten bucks a pop. New Years Sub-Resolution: Be as timely with your writing as you were with making coffee.
     Last Sub-Resolution: Be as CONFIDENT about your writing as you were about your coffee.
     I must say, if I had one major flaw when it came to making coffee it was my lack of modesty. I was good, and I made sure everyone knew it --I can make coffee better than you! and I can, unless you're some award-winning world-class barista.
     He would hate it if he knew I had him all over my blog, but I'm going to tell you something my boyfriend told me. I was telling Oscar (my love, life coach, inspiration, father of our two kittens...) that the short story contest I entered in September should have a winner soon, but that it probably wasn't me, and he said, "No! You can win. Say it. I want to hear you say it. I want you to talk about your writing like you talk about your coffee. So you can pour a latte better than anyone else? So what. You're a writer. You better brag at least as bad about your writing as you did about your coffee."
     Totally true, what he said, and it applies to you too. Baristas of the world, ask yourself this: Is this really what you want out of life? Is this really all you ever aspired to be? Because don't get me wrong, making coffee is awesome, but it tends to attract the artistic types, who have potential to be so much more--musician, artist, travel journalist... So don't get stuck behind the espresso machine. Don't let a latte leaf be all you have to show for yourself. I mean, unless making coffee is your lifelong dream.
P.S. I found a relic of my boastful-barista-ness. I used to make these lists, just to remind myself everything I still needed to stock/clean/do and tape them up on the hopper. As you can see, the final item on the list is "Be the best barista ever," and as you can see it has indeed been thoroughly crossed off.
     So, as of today, January 12th, 2013, I resolve to be the best creative-writer ever.

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