This post is dedicated to the things I have learned living in San Francisco these last five days.
When using Uberpool Express, they drop you off a few blocks from where your destination is. At four in the morning, there are homeless people everywhere. They will approach you, they will talk to you, it’s best to minimally acknowledge them and mind your own business. Also, Uber drivers and anyone else sharing the ride do not want to make conversation, put in headphones and stare out the window. Know the streets, know which direction they run, if you are lost there and do not have a phone on you, you’re fucked. Even the streets near my apartments run in funny directions and change unexpectedly.
Human kindness is far from dead, however, there are times and places in modern society where we omit using it to preserve ourselves. For instance, my roommates are incredibly kind. Some people who extend themselves in the elevator of my building are genuinely nice. Even the homeless lady who chills outside the coffee shop I work at is kind. But there are a lot of people who are not, and that is why we wear defensive masks.
At work, it is important to not press the ‘tender’ button before finishing ringing a guest up. It means you can’t change the order and need a manager’s approval to do anything else. Avoid at all costs.
It is also important to know how to make coffee, seeing as we are a coffee shop. To make coffee, you have to
- take off metal lid
- dump old grounds out
- put in new paper filter
- pour in coffee grounds from drawer directly under the medium roast
- Pull oldest dated coffee grounds first, generally located in the front of the drawer.
- Move hot water wand over the grounds and press the ‘start’ button
- set alarm for 35m
- Place metal lid over grounds
- Make new batch after alarm has gone off
If someone orders a Cafe Au Lait, you have to prep the cup for the barista. If someone orders a black coffee with an added shot, you have to prep the cup for the barista. If someone orders any black coffee or tea, you grab it right away. Don’t use concentrated tea for plain teas – they are reserved for our fog drinks. When someone orders a pastry, grab it from the trays below the pastry case before grabbing from within the pastry case. Always ask for a name for the order. When doing condiment checks, make sure all kinds of milk are more than half full. Refill sugar with the bag under the condiments. When that runs out, there is a key to the right of the espresso machine that unlocks cabinets in the lobby that have more sugar.
Side note: If you start brewing a new roast of coffee in the machine, you have to rinse it out before making the new batch.
When filling the pastry case, handle the fresh pastries carefully because you don’t want to spoil any of them out.
Also, we don’t sell bagels.
When guests check in on their app, you have to press two separate buttons to complete the order so it will disappear.
Our bacon and cheddar on brioche smells heavenly when coming out of the oven.
The most important thing is to multitask, to be friendly, and to learn. People are going to be rude. You are going to be miserable. You don’t know how to do everything right now, you feel vulnerable. But it is okay, no one knows everything all at once.
When swiping the magnetic strip to get into the apartment complex, swipe in front, not underneath the strip. It reads it right away instead of taking forever. The lobby doesn’t have cell service, which means you can’t get an uber from the safety and comfort of the warm sofas.
Rides to work take about thirty minutes, twenty-five if the driver is a local and doesn’t care about traffic violations.
Living in the city costs a lot of money. Everything is constant. Draining.
Roommates are nice. Play cards, share joints, a bowl, watch the news, cry together over being scared.
I live in a world full of endless possibilities, as well as countless errors.
I keep making mistakes, yet there is always something that makes me stay.
Like the way that my roommate calls home as I go to bed, and she speaks French to her parents in an eloquent and speedy fashion- the way that only French can do.
It is beautiful.
And yet it is also true that when I walking in the early hours of the morning, there are countless people who try to intimidate me. So I carry a knife in my pocket, ready for the moment I will need to show I’m not afraid. Even though I am terrified of what could happen to me, that no one would really know where to find me. Hell, I didn’t even know where I was. The corner of Which Direction Am I Facing and Is That a Corpse or just Someone Sleeping on the Street.
This city scares me. Full of strange people, angry people.
Today I learned that I can get to my destinations on the first try, which was a first for me. I’ve learned that for me to remain sane, I have to focus on the moment. Looking back tortures me. Tomorrow scares me. The moment I am living in is intoxicating and invigorating enough as it is.
I’m trying to not think about him because when I do it reminds me of the unbearable pain I feel from the distance. For the first time, I wish I didn’t feel this way about him. I wish it would just go away. I feel like a part of me has been forcibly removed.
So, for the sake of growing up and being mature, I’m going to ignore this in my daily life. I’ll wake up at four a.m. and wait for my Uber. I will walk on littered streets before the sun has risen, head held high, knife in hand, and I will ignore that ache I feel. And when I am walking home, and I see the daisies and they make smile, I will quickly stop when I remember I was smiling at the thought of you. The daisies remind me of you. And so does the morning mist that falls on my face. The lone street lamp at the corner. But the worst was the man with your face today because I couldn’t look away. It was intoxicating, frightening, I was looking at your ghost. Remembering you.