The amount of sugar I put into my coffee is dependant on my mood at the time and how many people are watching me add sugar.

Today, for the first time in what seems like decades, I went to a coffee shop and used my real name. Now, I never use my real name, and there are many reasons for this. The main one is because nobody ever knows how to spell it. I’m not even talking about my full name – Siddharth – I’m talking my one-syllable, shortened version of my name. Sidd is not that hard to say or spell. Though yes, I do complicate it slightly by using two ‘Ds’ instead of one, it still cannot be that much of a deal.
Now, back to the coffee shop instance – usually when I say my real name, I get my coffee cups back with a number of different spellings. Here a few of my favourites:
“Zid”
“Side”
“Saed”
“Mark” (I’m not even kidding)
Because of this, in recent years I have resorted to using a numerous number of fake names. This, I thought, would solve the problem easily (as lying always does). Then, I realized, that even when using generic names such as John, Tom or Fernando (It’s a conversation starter) there would still be corrections needed. My favourite occasion was when I took on the character of “Jasper” and the name “Jasmine” was called out against my order. My greatest worry in that case was that the girl taking the order looked at me and didn’t even flinch in taking that name.
So in knowing that it is not the complexity of the name itself that causes confusion, I must conclude that maybe it is the environment of the shop itself that restricts the barista from hearing my name correctly. The loud chatter of customers, the grind of the coffee machine, and the whistle of that milk-frother thingo – all factors contributing to the baristas lack of hearing. Worrying, though, considering that they are taking my coffee order in the same environment.
Now, I’m a fan of coffee shops. They bring in everyone from addicts needing their daily fix to couples on tentative first dates. But it’s amazing how well baristas get to know their customers, and I don’t mean just through general conversation. I feel as though you can tell a lot about a person from their coffee order – espresso shots for the no-nonsense business type, and caramel latte’s for the ones just going for the coffee-drinker image*. Of course, the longer the length of the order, the more serious the coffee connoisseur (or just the more annoying).
The reason I started writing all this in the first place was that today, when I used my real name to order my coffee, the barista actually spelt my name correctly. No, I did not spell it out for her, and no I had never been to her before. She just naturally spelt ‘Sidd’ with an ‘I’ and two ‘Ds’.
Who the hell does that? Seriously?
*(sorry NLH – RB, you’ll like that one)

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To read between the lines, and other cliches like that.

She said hello.
[Holy crap she said hello.
What does that mean? Does that mean she likes me?
No, don’t be silly – she’s just friendly, just saying hello. Everyone says hello.
That’s not true. Some people say ‘hey’ or ‘hi’. ‘Hello’ is quite forceful when you think about it. Damn it, that means she’s not relaxed. Is saying hello to me a chore? I don’t want her to think she has to be formal around me.
Damn it, man. You’ve screwed it up again.
Did she smile? Yes she did. Okay that’s a good sign. But don’t look into it too much – she probably smiles at everyone. You know she does – that’s why she’s so pretty.
Wow, that was even awkward to just think.
But it’s so true! Ugh her hair and her eyes and her mouth and her nose. Oh my god her nose!
Wow it’s definitely weird that you like her nose.
I’m okay with it.
Of course you are.
Okay. I need to say something now. I’m thinking maybe a ‘hey’.
But then you give her the conversation – don’t make her ask the questions. Be confident!
Okay Okay! How’s this?]
“Hey, how are you?” he asked back, returning a smile as he lowered his headphones from atop his head.
“I’m good! Just, you know, busy with class and stuff”
[Oh crap, she said ‘and stuff’
So?
That means she’s doing stuff other than uni! Maybe it’s some suave Italian guy named ‘Juan’ or something. She probably met him in the park whilst he was taking photos of birds and noting how incredibly delicate and beautiful they are. Damn it, you’ve screwed it up again!
Seriously?
Did I sound like I was kidding?
It’s probably nothing. Go on. Say something else.
It totally isn’t. We need to back away.
NO! Hold on, we can power through.
Okay okay! Don’t need to be so violent! Maybe this is okay.]
“Ahh really? Hope it’s not building up on you?”
“No, it’s okay, It’s just enough stress for it to be helpful” she laughed, still holding the textbook in her arms, clutched towards her chest.
[Okay, stay cool, she just laughed.
OH MY GOD SHE IS SO BEAUTIFUL HOLY CRAP OH MY GOOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD.
Get a grip! This is an opportunity. Here, say this]
“That’s good I guess” he chuckled in return, glancing down towards the table and then returning his gaze. “You always need some time off though”
“Yeah I guess, I just need everything sorted out and I’ll be okay” she nodded, shrugging slightly, her textbook slipping slightly.
[She’s being very vague.
That’s cause you’re being vague.]
“Oh I haven’t seen that film you recommended yet!” she jolted. “I’ll get around to it soon though.”
“Oh, yeah, well let me know when you see it – I think you’ll like it, I did”
“Yes your taste in films usually delivers quite well, I find” she smiled again – beamed, really.
[Was that a compliment?
I think so.
Holy crap! That was a compliment!
Okay, stay cool. Ask her to sit down. Maybe she wants a cup of coffee or something?
No, tea, she likes tea.
Okay, tea then, jeez…]
“Hey, do you want to sit down?” he motioned towards the chair opposite. “Might get a cup of tea or something?”
“Oh, I can’t, I have to go to a meeting. Supervisor needs to discuss my report, it’s all quite tedious,” she said, swaying slightly, her finger fiddling with the spine of her book.
[Damn it.
Maybe she genuinely has to go?
Maybe.
It’s worth a shot, come on.]
“Ahh okay” he said, in a manner that could surely have hid his disappointment more adequately. “Maybe another time?”
“Yeah sure! Give me a call and we’ll set something up” she said as she adjusted her stance, motioning towards the door.
“Sure, sure” he nodded, smiling.
“See you”
“Bye”
[See, that was okay right?
I guess.]
He smiled to himself.
[I just need to call her at some point now. Make sure that’s not too awkward.
Don’t worry it’ll be fine. You’ve talked on the phone before, mate.
You think?
Yeah. One thing though – do you have her number?]
And soon as the smile came, it vanished, his hand grabbing his forehead.
“Shit” he mumbled into table.