"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Working Girl

I began my job at The Ugly Mug in Soquel, California today.  I haven't worked since June - six months.  That is longest I've ever been unemployed since I began working at Carvel at age 14.  A much-deserved break, I'd say!

And now, I basically work on Sesame Street.

Photo: mommylife.net

I woke up at 4:30am and drove in the wee, dark, morning hours to meet my new boss, Steve, at 5:05.  I love the feeling of being awake and moving around before the rest of the world.  (I especially love it when I don't have to do it every day.)  And I can't wait until I live close enough to ride my bike there.

I shadowed Steve as we measured the beans and freshly ground enough coffee for our morning shift - nine carafes.  All of our coffee is shade grown and fair trade, and most of it is also organic.  We never let a pot sit for over three hours.  If it does, we dump it and freshly brew a new one.

Then we made seven rounds of (local, free range) scrambled eggs and cheese for the breakfast sandwich croissants, put on the music, and opened the doors.

Steve greeted nine out of ten people that walked in by name, and asked if they wanted their usual.  He introduced each person to me, and I spent the morning being welcomed by long-time customers as though they were the employees and I was the guest.

At some point, the woman who bakes all of our pastries brought two tupperware tubs of fresh wares for the day.  Then the burrito man came with our burrito delivery, the vegan cookie lady came to fill up our display case, and the fish guy came to tend to our giant fish tank.  Around 7:30am when the third employee arrived, Steve and I walked down the block to buy bagels from the bagel place.  

I got a delicious, free egg and cheese sandwich, and all the coffee I could drink.  Towards the end of my shift, Steve asked me to sit down and read the four-page essay by the original owner of the Mug.  It was an inspiring manifesto about community, and how the Mug is intended to be a "third place" in a world where most people spend their days isolated between their homes, workplaces, and cars.  This coffeeshop is about much more than just caffeine.  

I absolutely loved my first day of work.  And the best part?  I can leave it there at the end of the day.  

The Mug shot

Behind the counter

"Cuppa joe, mate?"

The crew: Haley, Alex, and Steve


  1. Sounds fabulous! Wish I was hanging out there right now with a cup of fresh brewed coffee and one of the egg croissants -- yum. I love the community aspect and am thrilled that you sound so excited. What's your living arrangement since you'll be staying a while?

  2. I wish you were hanging out here, too!! I've been couch surfing with several lovely folks around the area, which I plan to do for the month of December as I gather enough money to rent a room in a group house by January 1st. It's a fancy way of saying I'm homeless. :)

  3. You would fit right in a coffee shop :)