Saturday, November 27, 2004

Rain, Sun and Baby Seal

The morning began with a light drizzle of rain over in Oakland. It was still dark but you could see the drops momentarily revealed as the passed through the downcast rays of the streetlamp. It was cold. It was wet. It was 5 in the morning.

The refuge of the roaster, though not warm, was dry. With the machines on, you could barely hear the tapping of drops on the skylight. There was 9 lbs of Giant Steps to grind and another pound and a half of Decaf Noir. There was the New Orleans extract to decant. There was NPR.

The espresso that morning was not the best. A friend had made a Thanksgiving gift of a pound of Stumptown Organic Espresso. We had had great success with their non-organic espresso in a previous experiment, but this bag lacked that amalgamated flavor that had defined those shot. No matter, in an americano, and at that hour, beggars couldn't be choosers.

Manboy arrived, we finished loading and departed together for San Francisco. On the bridge, I recalled that I had dreamt of an having an accident in the van while driving across the bridge. And with the high winds whipping the cart around like a tail with a sail, I confessed my dreams to Manboy. In assurance, he told me that the frame of the van would protect us from any danger. God bless you Manboy.

We rolled up to an otherwise empty south side of the building. We got set up fairly quickly. James showed up and we got started with the day. Unfortunately, the only people around were other sodden market sellers and the random tenants of the wharf behind the plaza who had been rousted from their soggy domiciles by the arrival of the farmers. One such of the latter bestowed upon us, a shouted warning: "Baby Seal." The weight of these words hung like the albatross around our neck as the rain continued and our customers huddled somewhere far away in the warmth of their beds.

Then, the sun. Then, the CUSTOMERS. And they all wanted their drinks right immediately. Very few regulars means more tourists means haggard workers. This was the first time that we actually switched tasks during the shift and to take a break from the frustrations of steaming milk without any boiler pressure (or James' jovial reminders that "art is about constraints") was a relief.

In the end, we made out ok. No records broken but a success in spite of the weather.

Best question of the day in a crossword style came from Manboy:
"What is a four letter word for 'Baby Seal?'"

Best Answer came from Boyman:
"Meat."

Also, it was revealed that one of our once-a-weekers is actually the fellow responsible for Saute Wednesday so he has been added to the blog section.

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