It is not often that two develop a connection so palpable that everyone who bears witness respects this bond. A newborn baby is, for all intents and purposes, still very much connected to his or her doting mother. Similarly, spiritual relationships often take precedent over those shared with any other sentient beings. Unless your mother or Zeus happen to be the barista at your local coffee shop, however, you will not immediately have a near-telepathic relationship with them. Instead, like Dante, one must take a personal journey into the depths of oneself before he or she can reach the pearly gates of heaven, where your drink begins its preparation the moment you walk in the door. Motherhood and religious imagery aside, having your favorite drink freshly brewed, steeped or spiced without having to order it is a dream for which even heathens can pine.
Some might say, “Hey, Clog, there is no need to write a post about becoming a ‘regular’ at a cafe — all you have to do is go there often enough!” Blasphemy, hogwash, idolatry. It’s that kind of do-it-yourself-without-consultation attitude that got former president Bill Clinton in a jam and The Beatles out of one. A cafe is hallowed ground for the disparate intellectual, the disaffected thinker and the disingenuous lover. One cannot take the journey alone. Instead, following some simple guidelines will help you achieve Nescafe nirvana. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Think of this as your own personal motto with a slight alteration: “Be the regular you wish to see in the world.”
The rules of engagement — an apt title, because this is a commitment, after all … a life-long wedding to one’s cafe of choice — are simple. First impressions are key. You cannot enter the premises wearing sweatpants and a UC Berkeley hoodie. This delicate process of courtship requires subtle displays of effort, so put the damn lanyard in your pocket and comb your hair. Like a new lover, you are not at that point in the relationship yet. The next and notably critical step is to know what you want before you order. Being a time-wasting nuisance will get a groan from the barista, not a grin. Finally, consistency is key. Find a regular time in your schedule during which you can visit your chosen cafe, and develop a routine. It’s like finding a workout schedule, except you are enjoying refreshments, most likely reading and definitely sitting around — basically all the feel-good commitment without actually having to do anything onerous.
Eventually, perhaps in a few weeks or months — maybe you just look really generic and require a few extra visits? — your barista will remember you. In fact, he or she may even befriend you. Remember, a friend with an espresso machine is a powerful one! Until then, you know what to expect when you’re expecting — your coffee, that is.
Contact Ismael Farooqui at [email protected].