Coffee Shoppe Talk

As I was ending my twenty-four today, the only thing on my agenda was to catch up on some rest. Even though I’ve had the past four days off of work, I still have been getting up around 6am to either go out for rides, or to rendezvous with friends. In an effort to be a little more savvy with my phone and apply it more to my everyday life, I decided to use a ten dollar gift card for the “Square Wallet” app at a local coffee shoppe not too far from work. The coffee was fine and the vibe at the shoppe was very granola-like. There was a chalk board that had, “Craft night every 1st Monday” in different colors and some atrsy type paintings of English bulldogs.

The transaction went through without a hitch. I didn’t even need to get my wallet out to pay for my drink and pastry. This gift card really got the ball rolling for me to use this in the future. I wish more businesses would incorporate this idea of added convenience. I had the owners help me through this process since it was my first time. It’s really simple to grasp:

  1. You verbally place your order and while your order is being placed you let them know you’re on the square tab under your name.
  2. Your name and face will pop up on their screen, and they will add your order on your “tab” you’ve now created with them.
  3. Once you are finished ordering your food and drinks, the cashier will then let you know they will be charging your account you have set up through Square, and that’s it; you’re done.

As I was being walked through this process, a gentlemen overheard our conversation about where their coffee had come from, and the notes that it had, and offered me a seat at his table. His name is Vince. He had been a regular there for quite some time now and I could tell he really enjoyed it there. He said he liked the atmosphere and that it was more enjoyable then the vibe he got at your everyday Starbucks. We then began chatting about our lives and things we enjoyed doing. I told him about my recent ride to Mt. Baldy and my New Year celebration (here is my route for those of you who are curious: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/257491870 My heart rate is incredibly inaccurate. Every time I would go down a hill, it would shoot up to unreal numbers.) He talked about how he spent the past five weeks riding his motorcycle across country. He originally went to go visit his mom in Florida and then figured since he was already on the opposite side of the country, he might as well visit some distant relatives, some national landmarks, and an Indian reservation he had supported for twenty some-odd years. Vince had a lot to talk about, and since I had nothing on my agenda, I continued to sip my cappuccino and take part in active listening. He told me about how beautiful the countryside was and how he missed hurricane Issac my one day. He reacquainted with relatives and peers he had kept in touch with for over ten years all over the country. He had no hotel reservations on any of his stops and covered a minimum of one-hundred fifteen miles per day. Vince had stayed with his mother in Florida an extra week because he made such good time. He said that his mom almost called security when the ninety three year old saw him for the first time in all of his leather clothes and helmet.Vince had been to about twenty three states over the course of five weeks and concluded that he had the time of his life doing it despite his friends telling him he wouldn’t make it two days on the road. Vince’s story really intrigued me, so I let him finish and then continue on about his work life.

Vince had been a CNA (certified nursing assistant) for most of his working life. He cared for patients in nursing homes and eventually moved to a more private gig taking care of a mother of four who’s children wished to have nothing to do with her. Like most medical workers, there runs the risk of becoming too attached to your work and Vince grew very attached to his patient. He said that he stayed at her house for about six days out of the week sleeping by her bedside on the floor of her room. If she needed to use the restroom, Vince was there to help. If she had friends or family over, Vince was making coffee and tidying up the place. Vince grew very attached and continued to share her less than fortunate scenario. By this time I had finished my drink, but something told me to give him my full attention and stay to hear his story.

He mentioned how the patient’s children were waiting for her to die so they could get her possessions and money she would leave behind. She was a very caring mother who loved to cook and make people happy. He also mentioned that this lady didn’t like eating leftovers and threw out the excess foods she would cook. Vince would be over and she would be cooking things like beef wellington, or a casserole of some kind; more than enough food for two people and when she would be finished using only a few cuts of meat, she would have thrown the rest of it away if Vince didn’t say something. Vince ate well the times he was taking care of his patient. The sad part was that her children were alcoholics and drug abusers. The mother would have to bail them out of jail, and give them money so they could go buy booze and the drugs of their choice. Towards the end of the woman’s life she had spent one hundred grand on her children that did not know how to take care of themselves bailing them out of jail and financially feeding their drug habits. All that was left of hers was her home when she died. It was attachments like these that made Vince leave the field he was in.

“It was sad to see her go and have her kids still hoping that they would be the ones to get the new refrigerator or the pool table.”

Vince didn’t make a lot of money doing this, but he said that that wasn’t the point. Vince was a kind man who loved to take care of others. He still had a young attitude and spirit which is much more than I can say for some nurses in nursing homes who have a lot more responsibilities. CNA’s were physically with the patients in these nursing homes for the longest amount of times since their jobs require assisting the more basic tasks like feeding, changing, and grooming. I commend those who take on such demanding tasks. Their job is essentially the same as parenting a newborn child only now they are much older and have terminal illnesses to deal with. Vince ended up receiving a very fine kitchen set of silverware, pots and pans, and  dishes from the 1950’s. He used these for some time, and ended up giving the set to a younger friend of his who just got married. He didn’t accept any form of payment of compensation. Vince was no longer married and didn’t see a point in having so much for one person.

As more and more time passed, I eventually ended up departing and thanked Vince for sharing the story of his life with me. Vince was the kind of person who appreciated the little things in life. He didn’t need to make a six-figure income to be happy and didn’t let his fixed-income housing status turn him bitter. This coffee shoppe became a part of his morning routine of going for a walk, catching up on his reading, and than progressing on as the day began.

None of this would had happened if I hadn’t stopped by this place to see what the hype was about. I am glad I spent my morning there to unwind before I headed back home. Vince was a very nice man with a welcoming attitude. He had a lot to talk about and I am glad I was there to listen. It is now time for me to catch up on my sleep and rest off this muscle weakness from  my cycling filled holiday weekend.

-DFJ

 

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