We're not asking for much, you understand. We--I, specifically--don't expect a lengthy treatsie on the human condition each morning. I don't expect deep, empathic concern over how I'm doing at 7:15AM on a grey saturday. I really don't, nor do I want it, because every time a customer gets too talkative during a rush, the rest of the line wants to murder me for indulging him.
But I'm asking for acknowledgement, man. We--baristas, specifically--are required to check in with you as you come in (assuming we get the chance) and again as you come up to order. Some of us consider this duty a chore. I consider it basic courtesy. Sometimes I'm the first human being a customer interacts with during his day. And I want to make it a good experience, and so I say:
"Hey! How ya doing?"
"What's up, how's your day treating you?"
"Nice weather, huh?"
These aren't mere niceties. They're an invitation to communicate, an effort to check and see how you're feeling. When you walk into my coffee shop, I want to see where you're at emotionally, and make sure you walk out at an equal or higher emotional state. It gives me job satisfaction and personal gratification.
So when some people just...don't acknowledge me (us! this is not an exclusive experience!) at all, just...bark their order...it hurts more than it should! Picture yourself in a waiting room across from a stranger. You're both stuck there, yeah? Nowhere else to go. May as well make the best of it. So you cross that awkward social barrier and ask the stranger:
"Hey, how ya doin'?"
And the stranger responds, monotone, not even looking at you:
"My appointment is in fifteen minutes."
And then they keep waiting for their appointment. That's a dick move, right? Common courtesy indicates they should at least look at you, respond with an awkward "fine," then go back to struggling through Angry Birds. This courtesy doesn't exist in coffeeshops. Sometimes we feel like smiling robots, It's a Small World automatons who simply sing while swiping credit cards. And anyone who's reading this who doesn't return that simple courtesy when ordering--take heed. Who knows, something terrible could happen. Perhaps a disgruntled barista could give you your change all in ones.
but hey, look, another postcard!
I've written articles about naan before, gotta love the food writing pedigree, but I'd never actually visualized naan cooking. And have any of you ever tried naan? This stuff is the greatest appetizer there is, or the greatest side dish, or hell, the greatest meal centerpiece. Give me a plate of bismati rice and garlic naan and watch me live the dream until the plate is empty.
At which point I just order some more.