‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Monday, May 14, 2007

community service, reconsidered

This morning on my way to work my car did just what it's supposed to do when I don't have children in the car: Drive in the opposite direction from work just long enough for my Dirty Little Secret.

Don't get excited, it's just a muffin and coffee. But it's mine and no one asks me if they can have one too or why I am not having oatmeal with skim milk.

I stop at a place that opened last summer, run by a nice couple with grown kids who understand the value of discretion, privacy, and hoarding. They seem to know everyone in town and address us all by name. The phone rings. "Hi, (name of business I am not disclosing for reasons of selfish territorialism), can you hang on a second?" It is bright and sunny and there are lots of people but everyone's so darn glad to be there, getting their own dirty little secrets, that it doesn't seem like a line.

I get a cranberry peach muffin and small coffee.

"Thanks for holding -sorry about that!"

When things get really busy sometimes they see me in line, get my stuff and surreptitiously hand it to me around the edge of the counter, whispering my total. I guess they don't want it to look like they play favorites, but they do. And I love them for it.

They have cd's from local musicians for sale on the counter - "New Uke State of Mind", with the artist standing on the front cover holding a ukalalie.

Today after the breakfast rush they are going to help their daughter move from her dorm to her new apartment. I like knowing things like this. I wonder too late if this means she will not be working there this summer. I'll have to ask them next time. It seems like a nice thing to ask, and also feeds my sense of community - a habitual pilgrimage to a multi-generational family run business is so much more rewarding than cruising past the drive-thru window of some nameless, faceless, small-business-eating chain (although I do like Starbucks and credit them with giving their stores more character than many non-chains).

But now my coffee is getting cold and eventually I really do have to start working.

You didn't see me. I wasn't here.

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