Ah, children. The purity of youth. The beginning of a downward spiral that sends you scuttling into teenagerdom, and emerging as an emotionally scarred adult. What wonderful little critters children are. And, quite rightly, I’ve moaned about them here before, in passing. When they make mess, when they put their sticky little mitts on my beautifully polished pastry case. When they decide to individually count every coffee bean on display, or create a fort out of straws. Usually, when they steal the chocolate powder. But in general, you can’t really blame kids for being kids.
But, I’m going to try. Because sometimes, you can just look at a child and see who they’re going to become. Usually, their mothers.
Miss ‘Uh, yeah?’
So, a very sweet and polite girl comes to order a drink, I’d say she was about twelve. She get’s halfway through saying that she’d like to takeaway when her stormtrooper friend marches up and interrupts.
‘Uh NO excuse me I WANT THIS ONE.’
Um, why are you shouting, are you accustomed to the butler being in the West Wing when you call for him? I’m standing right here. I know you are underdeveloped and therefore I seem quite high up, but shouting is unnecessary.
‘WE WANT TWO CARAMEL FRAPPUCINOS. CREAM BASED. WITH CREAM. DO…YOU..UNDERSTAND…THAT?’
Oh. Sweet. Jesus. That flash of red behind my eyes was either blinding rage or a seizure. Keep calm.
‘Yes, MADAM. I completely comprehend your order. That will be five pounds.’
Grit teeth, smile wide. She’ll be entering adolescence soon. There will be pimples and puppyfat and gossipy girls and boys who reject her because she’s scary. She’s got a hard time ahead, believe in karma. It will be alright. I am a grown up. I win by default.
‘Uh, excuse me, I’m not done yet. Shouldn’t you ask if I want anything else?’
I’m afraid we don’t offer personality transplants here.
‘What else would you like?’
‘A half-shot decaf caramel coffee light DOUBLE BLENDED- you always forget to double blend it- with extra drizzle. Do you think you can handle that?’
Well, it rates right up there with brain surgery, but I’ll certainly do my best.
Then she pays with a fifty pound note. I hadn’t even SEEN a fifty pound note when I was twelve, let alone been responsible for one.
So, it’s a Saturday afternoon, and there’s a drinks rush, so whilst I desperately swirl around slamming blenders, measuring milk, squirting scream, and generally doing what we call ‘The Frappuccino Dance of Death’ she decides to get involved.
I hand over the first two drinks. The polite one smiles and nods.
‘You DO KNOW we’re waiting for another one?’ She’s flicking her hair, whilst I’m trying to let her know that pissing me off when there are fourteen beverages waiting to be made, twenty more people in the queue and I’m holding a container of strawberry sauce is not a good idea. She clearly doesn’t get the hint.
‘Where’s MY drink?
‘DID YOU ORDER IT?’ I bark.
‘Uh, duh, yes, you served me.’
‘THEN IT’LL BE WITH YOU MOMENTARILY, WON’T IT?’
I give her three times the amount of whipped cream and wish her an acne attack. My colleague pauses and grins. ‘This is going in your blog, isn’t it?’
And here it is. Young people. Pfff. Yes, come in and order things, you appreciate our expensive froofy drinks. And we appreciate your pocket money. But you know what? When you come in wearing head-to-toe Hollister, talking on your iPhone and talking to me like I’m some sort of undead waitress programmed to attend to your every need, I need you to think about something. You are going to end up like your mother. And I serve your mother every day. She is also an arsehole. You’re probably going to marry a man like your father (espresso drinking timid man who never replies when you ask how his day is) and be as rich and entitled as you are now. And then you are going to get old and die.
There’s a free dose of perspective with every cold drink today, come along quick! You too may benefit from an extra help of reality with a side of whipped cream!
Have a nice day from Cafe Disaster – keep your younglings away from me.