I have been considering starting a blog for some time now, and tonight I decided to take the plunge. Sometimes I find myself questioning the value of what I have to say, but then I think about reading the blogger posts that I subscribe to. Do they usually say anything particularly insightful? Not often. What they do really well is write about what is on their hearts with honesty, and a good dose of humor. That, my future subscribers, is exactly what I plan to attempt.
As many of you may know, I used to work at a local café. I worked there for almost 4 years, starting when I was 17 and still in high school. Several months ago, however, I decided it was time for a change, and I turned in my notice. The incidents and occurrences that led to my departure are not really relevant; I am just glad to have left on good terms. I now have the pleasure of working for a local farm and dairy where I care for dairy goats, help to make cheese and yogurt and do an assortment of other tasks.
Most of my relatives and some of my close friends have enjoyed (or perhaps only tolerated and politely and pretended to enjoy) my regaling them with tales of the very colorful and unique selection of café patrons. Don’t get me wrong – I came to truly love some of them. One great example of fantastic local color that we all grew to love was the gal I met on my very first day.
Imagine me. I am 17 years old. This is my first day at a “real” job. I have no idea what to expect. I only met the owner 2 days ago, and he speaks broken English that I only catch bits of. He hired me after what he called an interview, but it was really more like “Here is application. You fill out for my records. Be sure you get food handler’s card. I see you Monday at 10.” So here it is, 9:45 on Monday morning, and I am nervously climbing the stairs to the front door. It is dark inside and I think that I must be the first one to arrive. I try the handle, and to my surprise, the door swings open. I step inside and call out a “Hello?” No reply. I look around the café, in the kitchen, the dining room… no one is there. So I find a seat near the front of the restaurant and decide to wait until someone shows up.
About 5 or 10 minutes later (it seemed much longer at the time) a cheerful face pops in the front door. “Hi there, and welcome to the neighborhood!” The next thing I know, a basket full of very large brown eggs is thrust into my arms. “These are duck and geese eggs from my farm.” She announces. “I just wanted to stop by and welcome you and your husband to the area”. I can help but interject at this point. “Umm.. I think you have me mistaken for the owner’s wife. They are… well I am not sure where they are, actually. They were supposed to be here to train me – see, it is my first day today, and I don’t really know what to do.” “Oh, well that’s ok. You just sit here and hold these until they get here and then you give them to the owner and his wife for me, ok?” “Uh, ok.” I mumble. She cheerfully makes her way back out the front door, leaving me alone in the café with a basket full of duck and geese eggs in my arms. She didn’t even leave her name! I keep thinking. Now what am I supposed to tell the owners? I envision myself saying something like “well…uh.. this lady –no I don’t know her name! but she left these for you and uh..what is your wife’s name? She thought I was her, so she left them with me.”
And that is about what I said. One of the great things about people who don’t speak English as a first language is that they don’t catch it when those of us who are supposed to be fluent say things that come out completely awkward or when we make grammatical mistakes. Thank Goodness for that. Anyhow, the rest of the first day was equally as interesting, but it worked itself out. The owner and his wife did eventually arrive, and they were as confused by the eggs as I was. Several days later, the friendly lady came back. She introduced herself by name, and became a great friend to the owners, and most of us who worked there. She also became a key organizer for many benefit fundraiser dinners we held there.
I guess that when all is said and done, the world needs more people who aren’t afraid to be unique and be themselves. . So next time you get a new neighbor, consider taking them a basket of goose eggs, and don’t leave your name. Or at least don’t be afraid to reach out and welcome them. J