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.
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.