Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Open Letter (#2)

To the Men Who Serve Me Food and Drink:

You do know that you have a special place in my heart, don't you? Jonathan Ames has a great line in one of his essays or short stories (I can't remember where I read it) about how he always finds himself falling in love with waitresses because they're kind and they bring him food, and I'm feeling very much the same about three of you guys, specifically, right now. And, though I usually, privately, have this kind of reaction whenever I see you individually at your respective places of employ, I'm driven to proclaim my love publicly, en masse, today because of the fact that I experienced this phenomenal trifecta of unbidden warmth from you within the past twenty-four hours.

I wouldn't necessarily lump this current flush of emotion in with the traditional conception of a customer service crush; I don't want your number, I don't want to bring you home, I'm not obsessing about the idea of seeing you the next time I stop in to your establishment. My love is chaste and pure from, well, not exactly afar, but not anear either. But. Unassuming bartender who was reading Anna Karenina? Affable stoner barista who greeted me with a heartfelt "good to see you again"? Hot rock 'n' roll waiter who gave me my lunch for free? You guys just kind of kill me. In a way that a more-than-healthy tip can't really compensate for. I hate that I get so freaked out by these moments of genuine human interaction that I often don't know how to properly respond to them at the time. That just speaks so ill of the headspace I'm usually mired in as I slog through my daily routine in the city. And yet--you make the effort to invite me, in your own ways, to pull my head out of my ass, though you barely know me from the next preoccupied twentysomething accessorized with one-inch indie band pins and messenger bag. You make the effort to treat me with a graciousness that, though I might not show how much I truly appreciate it, shines very, very brightly in the moments I find I need that illumination the most.

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