Saturday, May 12, 2007

Straw II

The day after my little jaunt to Noho was, not surprisingly, a Saturday. (Since I went to Noho on a Friday and everything.) You may recall that Lines at my Starbucks are usually a little insane on Saturdays. You may even recall that one time I went a little insane at my Starbucks one Saturday, because of a lot of things which culminated in a guy's getting irate over a straw.

Well, the Saturday after Noho, the Straw-Man came back into the store. I can't imagine why.

The only other time he had been there since The Last Straw day, I had ducked into the back room because I was too afraid of him (and maybe myself) to face him. This time I was legitimately going into the back room to get something when he came in, but while I was back there, I steeled myself to say something if he was still out there when I returned.

He was.

I walked right up to the counter where he was waiting for his drink and said, "Hey. I wanted to apologise for the other week." Clearly neither of us needed extra clarification as to which week I was talking about. I was so braced for another attack on my baristahood that it didn't even occur to me to want to say something like, " . . . even though you were the one being a complete jerk--and who asks for their money back because of a straw, anyway?" Fortunately.

He looked a little startled, and then he almost smiled, and then he said, "Yeah, don't worry about it. Everybody has bad days. I guess I was probably also having a bad day . . . so I'm sorry, too."

It was my turn to look surprised. I think I usually get a pretty good read on people. But I guess sometimes I get complacent about this ability or whatever it is, and then I pigeonhole them. After that, it's always kind of monumental to me when they break out of the box. I definitely had not originally put this guy in the Apologies-and-Forgiveness Pigeonhole. Of course I had put myself in that one. Probably subconsciously I was anticipating that he'd continue to be a jerk, and then my own self-righteousness could be reinstated, since I at least had apologised for my bad behaviour that day.

But then, when he did forgive me, and did apologise, too, it was so fresh and astonishing, that I immediately recognised it for what it was: a much better and purer alternative to the privilege of wallowing in smugness. It is, I noticed, much more wonderful, if one manages a noble moment, to be able to share the nobility than to be able to lord it over someone.

"Well, hopefully," I said, "today will be a good day."

"Yeah," he said. "At least it's not raining."

"That definitely always helps," I agreed, even though it doesn't--always. "Anyway. It's good to have you back." I wasn't sure I was telling the truth about that part either. But I think I was. Still, I did watch to make sure my drink-making colleague handed him the right size straw.


Christianne said...

I haven't read your other posts about this straw-guy incident (I'll hop on over to those ones next), but I loved reading this post. So full of grace and honesty, it made my heart hurt with recognition and appreciation for who you are. It reads like an Anne Lamott-esque moment you were having, your mouth opening into a small, started "oh" at the grace of it all. So glad the air has officially been cleared in this case.

And now I'm headed to my local Starbucks to have an iced grande hazelnut latte with whip cream . . . with a big straw, please.

PS: I also just noticed you have a label called "Conversation Transcriptions." I think this is positively great.

Heather said...

good for you.