A friend and a footballer

There is a lot to say about the last week. Being apart from my beloved laptop meant that I was reduced to writing down potential blog topics in a little notebook. [At a Christian event people watching you do this assume you are having profound thoughts and thus do not disturb you, simply looking on in awe at the stream of words flowing from your pen…] In fact, one of my top 5 highlights of the week relates to blogging, but I’ll tell all when I’m less tired and unclean.

Suffice to say, I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about coffee. Well, to be specific, a lot about working in a café (although I was taught to use the fancy machine for special coffees I never actually got to use it). After I’d got used to the routine I discovered my analness manifesting itself in hitherto unseen ways…

Exhibit A:

A pretty perfect Chai Latte (not actually on the menu, but once I’d been taught milk frothing technique and had spotted the chai syrup I deduced that my beverage of choice had to be only seconds away). Not overly anal, but it did please me that getting the right level of milk vs foam into the cup had quite a technique to it.

Exhibit B:

These beauties are Chocolate Mountains. Hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, squirty cream, chocolate sprinkles, a flake and about a billion calories. There’s quite an art to their creation and they can be rather labour intensive – particularly tricky in the late shift when all people seemed to want was a sugar rush before bed.

I discovered that the key to getting into the groove for the Hot Chocolate/Filter Coffee station was to have a system supported by plenty of preparation and the kind of focus I somehow rarely stir up for my regular day job. Despite the noise, the team were in tune and with every cry of “Liz – another Mountain!” I was immediately to work. In fact, such was my dedication and artful skill that by the end of the shift I’d been declared Queen of the Chocolate Mountains. Beautiful.

Exhibit C:

One of the key analness indicators was the precise way in which the station had to be set up to function. It made me happy to organise the flakes in this tidy fashion, rather than a higgildy piggildy mess. [This is a box I filled once empty – I then tidied the second box so that it too met with my high standards.]

Exhibit D:
Actually, there’s no photo for this one, but a job I fell in love with on my first ever café shift was re-stocking the fridges ready for the next session. It involved counting, filling spaces, ensuring symmetry and creating a work of art. This is where the footballer reference comes in – Britain recently discovered (courtesy of Jonathan Ross’ final chat show) that David Beckham has an OCD complex with drinks cans and his fridge. Like Becks, under my care, the fridges balanced – labels faced the front, cans aligned, a certain number of each brand… It’s worrying.

And the friend reference? Well, I’d think that would be obvious…just call me Monica.

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