Posts Tagged ‘ community ’

Things your Barista is Not.

It has come to my attention that the general public is not quite sure what is in my job description as a barista. To help you, I have compiled this list of Things that Your Barista is Not.

Latte art

Your Barista is Not a Psychic.

You, the customer, must tell me, the barista, what you want. Staring at me as you hold your money out is insufficient. So is telling your friend what you want as you walk into my cafe. Throwing your money on the counter and mumbling “the usual” will not get you what you want if we have never seen each other before.  Expecting me to read your mind will simply result in an awkward conversation and annoyance arising between us.

I might joke about how I went to wizarding school to learn latte art, but reading your mind just wasn’t a part of the training. Sorry. (Not really.)

Your Barista is Not Your Therapist.

Honestly, you can talk to me. We can joke around and be friends, and maybe even have real proper conversations every once in a while. But the moment I start to feel like your therapist is the moment I tune you out, and if it’s ongoing I will probably complain about you later to my fellow coffee people (who are also not your therapist.) I understand if you’re unhappy because of a death in the family, a failing marriage, an argument, or whatever, but really, I don’t get paid enough to be your therapist. Let the coffee be your therapy.

Your Coffee Shop is Not a Dating Service.

Any barista who’s been playing the game for a while can sense the stench of desperation from across the cafe. Feeble attempts like five dollar bill hearts as a tip, “We should text sometime,” or using Harry Potter as a point of mutual interest– all true stories– These might be fine strategies in a normal context (not that I recommend giving five dollar bill hearts to anyone ever,) but in the cafe context they’re just pathetic and inappropriate.

When I’m at work, I’m not on the prowl. That’s all. My job might be more fun than yours, but I’m still getting paid minimum wage plus tips to even talk to you right now, and if you’re the kind of person who’s going to hit on your baristas, I’d never talk to you outside of when I’m getting paid. Please keep that in mind.

Myself, when/if I find you, a customer, an interesting enough person that I want to spend time with you in a normal, outside-of-work context, I will let you know.

Your Barista IS a Fellow Human Being.

As a fellow human being, your baristas deserve the simple courtesy of eye contact and a greeting. I don’t demand conversation, friendliness, joking, or whatever. But it is not that difficult for you to be moderately polite, and it improves my day immensely.

And if you tip, well, now we’re friends.


Pedalpalooza: How am I Just Hearing About This?

Today, I was sitting in Oblique coffee, sipping a delicious glass of toddy when I decided it’d be a good idea to browse this week’s Portland Mercury.

Usually I avoid this publication on principle, because I’m not really fond of ads for strip clubs and adult stores. But this week their headlining story was something pertaining to Wednesday’s blog– how to get into biking in Portland.

After I finished reading the tips (“Don’t be an asshole” was my favorite,) I continued flipping pages, because the article had mentioned something that sounded exciting that I had never before heard of.


The first thing I ever heard about Pedalpalooza was last year when the World Naked Bike Ride cruised right by my sister’s house. Unfortunately for me, I’m now living in that house. I shall probably bear witness to this event, while mournfully waving goodbye to any last shreds of innocence that clung to me.

It’s not just naked bike rides though. All this month, all over Portland, are organized bike rides centered around almost anything you can imagine.

The ones I’m going to make a valiant effort to at least witness, if not participate in, are as follows.

Thursday, June 14th. The Fake Mustache Ride.

Friday, June 15th. Bob’s Meme Ride.

Saturday, June 16th. The Star Wars vs. Star Trek Ride. I’m a Trekkie for life, by the way. We can argue about this later.

Sunday, June 17th. Zombie Apocalypse Ride. The instructions say to come as a zombie or a survivor. I just really want to witness this one.

Wednesday, June 27th. Crappy Gift Exchange Ride.

Also Wednesday, June 27th. OMSI Pedals Science Ride, which starts and ends at OMSI and includes science and OMSI after dark. What’s NOT to love?

There are also, throughout the month, a nice range of food cart tours, coffee shop meetups, naked bike rides aside from the big one, pet-inclusive rides, and rides specifically crafted for families.

Mostly I’m just shocked I’ve never heard about this before. All my life  I’ve had family in the Portland area– heck, my dad grew up here and my brother lived here for like six years. Either they never mentioned it due to a lack of interest, or I just wasn’t paying attention when they did. (To be fair, it was probably the latter. I’m horrible at paying attention.)

Portlanders! Are you going to any of these rides? Are you going to any others that I should try to make it to? Email me or let me know in the comments. Let’s be biking buddies.

You are a Precious Commodity.

Even though I haven’t written about it since August, I think a lot about dating.

I think about it a lot because I’m single. Generally, I’m quite content being single. It’s low-pressure, I don’t have to worry about what someone will think when I hang out with guys, and I don’t have to worry about anyone’s needs but yours truly. Admittedly selfish reasons, but I’m not ashamed.

Because of my homeschooled past and Christian upbringing, there’s always been conversation in my family about courtship vs. dating.

A lot of people dive into the courtship route to the extreme– no one-on-one time at all and never kissing until the I Dos have been declared. Frightening.

A lot of other people dive into the dating route to the extreme– seeing whomever, whenever, and doing whatever.

Personally, I think both approaches are ridiculous. So here you go, more of Bethany’s Untested Theories about Dating!

A catchphrase of the courtship camp (and often the Christian camp) is “Guard your Heart.”

I’ve always had a little bit of a beef with this saying. (It annoys me almost as much as Follow your Heart.)

Guard your Heart evokes a picture of one’s heart being locked away behind a bolted door, with you standing in front of it, brandishing a sword, decrying “Only one Worthy person shall Pass.”

As a girl who’s held that sword in front of that freaking door for far too long, I propose a different image.

How about your heart in your chest where it belongs?

The whole locking your heart away thing is just not a good use of that precious, precious resource.  Allow me to elaborate.

You are a very limited commodity. Indeed, there is only one of you on this whole Earth. But if other people don’t have access to you, the limited commodity of you doesn’t really have much value. Your heart locked away in a strong room is about as useful as gold in a vault.

However, that does not mean that you should spread yourself and your heart around.

I like to compare my heart to a favorite book of mine. I might lend it to some people, let them get to know it, but the more times I lend it out the more beat up it gets from normal wear and tear, maybe underlines here and there, and, God forbid, maybe even pages torn out. Eventually it is completely tattered. However, if I only let my family and friends know my favorite book without actually giving it to anyone yet, by the time a person who I want to spend a lifetime with comes along, I can share a mostly intact book with him.

Love yourself enough to protect your heart, but also love yourself enough to let people see it.

It boils down to good stewardship — using your resources to the fullest extent without squandering them.

Guard your heart, but not too much.

Why Christians should Tip

As anyone in the service industry can assure you, Christians are very stingy.

Every barista dreads the days when women’s bible studies come into coffee shops, because even though they all (usually) order demanding drinks, all that you get in the tip jar is a whole lot of nothing (or maybe a gospel tract if your shirt is a little lower cut than someone thinks is okay.)

Okay, yeah, I sound a little bitter. But I feel like I have a right to be, because I’m a Jesus follower and no barista or waiter would ever guess it. Why? Because I tip really well.

Wait what.

Why is this the case? Why does this happen? Why, oh why, are women’s bible studies so annoying?

Jesus said to love others more than you love yourself. I understand being a good steward of your money and all, but a really good way to demonstrate love and appreciation to baristas and waitstaff is to tip well, especially if the service was good.

Having a condescending attitude and asking us if we know Jesus after looking pointedly down our shirts is not a good way to demonstrate love.

Let’s face it, Christians– ya’ll (we) have a pretty crappy reputation in this society, and honestly, if you (we) can’t even tip a barista when there’s a whole bunch of you ordering your drinks at once, I can’t exactly say you (we) don’t deserve it.

Repairing the crappy reputation will be a long difficult process because I’m inclined to believe it’s because our priorities are screwed up (image is more important than Jesus) but I’m not going to go into that today.

All I’m saying is that you can start a trend by tipping your baristas and waitstaff.

How about we start by letting people know that Christians are generous?

And I promise you, no one cares about how many sponsor children you have.

Start at home.

Christians, tip your baristas.

In Which Bethany makes Excuses for a Late Post.

Ack! This post is a day behind schedule!

At least I have a very proper excuse. I spent the weekend at home in Redmond, Oregon, and yesterday I was at my sister’s house without a computer. I hereby absolve myself.

The weekend was highly enjoyable. On Saturday I went to Smith Rock— a highly well-known climbing and hiking destination only fifteen minutes from my parents’ home. My family, our friend Hadley, and I hiked up Misery Ridge and down the back by Monkey Face.

Misery Ridge is a serious misnomer. This is Hadley and I at the top.

And after we hiked to what was technically the top of the trail, Rachel, Hadley, and I scrambled up all the rocks to the very tip top of the accessible rock (since any higher peaks were only accessible with aid of ropes, belay devices, and other miscellaneous outdoor climbing gear.)

Those arms are mine. Just so ya know.

Then scrambling down the back, I found a rock upon which to strike a very strong and heroic pose.

Don't I look like I could save the day, guys? ... guys?

And then, all of a sudden, it was Sunday, and it was time to go home… From this– 

To this–

I’m not going to lie to you; as much as I love the rugged desert beauty of Central Oregon, and as much as I always will, it’s nice to be back in the damp, chilly, crappy-weather Portland, where spring is already nigh.

We are the Borg… Almost.

I’ve been mulling over something for a while now, and badly feel like I need to get it off my chest, so here goes.

Technology has royally screwed my generation and the next.

Before you decide I’m a loony and move on, allow me to explain myself.

My peers and anyone younger than us have (in the most literal way) grown up on technology. Before we could write cursive we (and they) are proficient typists. I’ve seen advertisements for “baby computers” that will teach your tot basic computing skills before they can even talk. A little girl in the coffee shop the other day was reading texts aloud to her older sister, wielding her smartphone like I would have a Barbie.

In the personal scope, I can only barely remember before we got our first computer– a Macintosh Performa. While its primary function was for my mom’s work, we also had a number of educational games that we would while hours away playing. My second big computer-related memory is when my mom got my dad an original iMac for his birthday, in a snazzy lime shade. (Yes, kids, there was a time when Mac’s big selling point was its pretty colors, not its artistic-pretentious minimalism.) My little sister cannot remember a time without computers, and was typing before her handwriting was legible.

Now, there are four functioning computers in my house and several that are obsolete. I got my first PC when I was 16, and my second (a definite upgrade) at 18. Now my first laptop has been inherited by my little sister at the tender age of 14, and despite my smartphone and thousand-dollar desktop I’ve been entertaining thoughts of purchasing a wee netbook for myself.

So much has happened in the last fifty years technology-wise. The ultimate question then, do the benefits outweigh the toll it wreaks?

I think no.

So much of our so-called social interaction occurs through the use of electronic intermediaries anymore that we straight up do not have the means to interact in face-to-face, one-on-one situations.

For example, I was once in Townshend’s tea house in downtown Bend with my friend Hilary observing how people use their cell phones in the public sphere. It was pretty unremarkable, until a mob of high schoolers invaded (probably freshmen and sophmores, but I am bad at estimating age.)

We were then treated to the sight of annoying public displays of affection (kissing, snuggling in a mob on the couch, etc,) but with a rather disturbing twist. These kids were at the beck and call of their cell phones– I witnessed at least one person disengage themselves from a kiss to answer a text, and several people shut down conversations in favor of their cell phones.

I was (and still am) completely flabbergasted.

Since when did people who aren’t present become more important than the people you’re with?

(I’m finally at the point!)

People use these electronic intermediaries as a way to keep people distant. It may be subconscious — it’s not for me. The reason technology has screwed us over, though, my fellow under-20-ers, is because we have no recollection of a time without electronic intermediaries, and therefore our social skills are systematically breaking down.

You know how annoying it is when you’re in a group and there’s one person who is constantly texting someone who isn’t there? Have you ever been in a group where the majority engaged in this lack of etiquette? How long until trying to engage with the group is considered bad etiquette?

Why do you think suicide rates are so disturbingly high? No one has a voice. No one makes deep connections. We have no real community– it’s all imagined. We may as well be the Borg, plugged into a network but blind to what’s right in front of us.

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