I dropped my car off at the garage the other day and stopped into the little coffee shop in a shack on the corner of the gas station property for something to sip on my walk home. I was surprised to find a pretty young barista, wearing only a halter top and the tiniest of skimpy shorts. I immediately felt concern. She could get burned making coffee dressed that way. She smiled and asked me what I was having.
“Double, tall, Americano,” I said. “Black.”
She turned and started operating the espresso machine and then I noticed she was barefoot. My God. Are there no OSHA requirements for baristas?
I gazed around the hastily constructed shack, about six feet square dominated by two espresso machine, a tiny sink, and a cash register. There didn’t seem to be any windows or openings in any of the walls, except for the front opening where I stood ordering coffee. The back wall was shelves packed to the ceiling with coffee and supplies. Still baffled about her attire, I wondered if those espresso machines might have made the cramped space feel stuffy and hot.
“Is it warm back there?” I asked.
Although it was summer, the sky was overcast and grey. I was wearing a light jacket in case it rained.
“Warm?” She asked, looking at me skeptically. “No, I”m fine.”
She smiled and placed my steaming paper cup on the counter in front of us. What an attractive girl.
I gave her the only bill in my wallet, a ten-dollar bill, for $1.25 cup of coffee.
She turned to her cash register drawer, dug out and held some bills in her left hand, and then continued digging around for change. I felt stupid bothering her with all my silly questions. Unable to find the correct change in her register, she moved to her tip jar.
I sipped my coffee. Waited.
Finally I said, “You can just keep that change.” By this I meant pocket change, but she turned to me and her whole face brightened with such joy. And then I got it–sexy barristas selling hot coffee! This had recently been in the papers: scantily clad barristas is apparently the latest coffee craze sweeping the land. Someone had put one up–complete with voluptuous curvy signage–at a gas station near Crossroads park and there had been a general citizens uproar. Not long after the story appeared, the entire shack was whisked away–sexy signage and all–to somewhere down by the airport.
“Coins,” I said. “You can keep the coins. Just give me those bills, and we’re cool.”
Her face fell a little, but she dutifully gave me my change. What a nice girl. I am such a doofus sometimes. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out.
But she made a great cup of coffee!