Today I sat on the wall by the bank, eyes closed, listening to the sound of the cars on tarmac and the beeping of the drive-up ATMs. "This," I thought, "may well be the last time I ever do this."
When the weather's warm enough, I sit on the wall during my breaks and soak up vitamin D. I could sit in our outside cafe, but it's small and there's no way to get away from the customers. I daresay I look really weird sitting on that wall by myself and without a cigarette, but I have never cared. Today might have been the first time I've gone out there this year because the spring has mostly been cold, but it might also be the last time, unless I go out tomorrow, because tomorrow is the day I work my Last Starbucks Shift.
Sometimes I take a break from writing here because there's nothing going on. Other times it's because everything's going on and I don't know how to talk about all of it, or it isn't time to yet, or something. And then I have to try to catch up. I'm going to try to do that. For now, though, suffice it to say that on Saturday I gave my notice at Starbucks and on Thursday I go on vacation, so tomorrow is effectively the end.
I'm so glad.
The company isn't what it was, and the store isn't what it was, and I'm probably not who I was either, back in 2004 when I thought I was going to work there for six months and then try to open a coffee shop of my own. The staff has changed zillions of times, as of last week we're on our third manager, and apart from Jerry (who doesn't really count, because he left and came back), I'm the person who has been with this store the longest.
"Oh!" say the Customers-That-I-Like, that I've told about my departure, looking perplexed at whether to be happy for me or disappointed for . . . themselves, I guess? "I'll miss you!" I say I'll miss them, too, and I suspect I will, but it feels kind of weird to say it and it probably isn't true in the traditional sense anyway. Most of them are only in my life on the opposite side of a specific counter in a specific location, and once I'm not on that side of that counter in that place, I don't know that I would even have a context in which to miss them. They, on the other hand, will keep going there and I will not be on the "right" side of the counter. (If I get in line to buy a pastry, some Regular will always say, "Hey! You're on the wrong side!")
I don't have the idealism about Starbucks in particular or even coffee shops in general that I used to have, and right now I'm kind of tired of the business (though there is a coffee shop I like to visit on my days off), and tired of the stress and tired of the petty freak-outs (mine, and customers', and my colleagues') and tired of stupid, arbitrary rules that make things more difficult and not any more sanitary, for example.
But sitting on the wall kind of took me back, and I really do have some great memories of that place, and I have friends I wouldn't trade for anything and so . . . maybe I feel a little nostalgic after all.