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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Road to Baristaship

I was trying to stay out of the Year Zero conspiracy (or whatever you call it). At first I thought it was probably stupid, just a marketing scheme or something and definite time-waster; then I thought it looked pretty interesting but still would require a lot of time to catch up on. But now I've finally listened to the album (which I LOVE and will probably keep on an endless loop for a long time) and perused some of the websites, and it's definitely awesome, creepy, and yes, it will take me weeks to catch up and explore everything that's been discovered so far, not to mention everything that isn't yet well understood or is still to come. If dystopian worlds interest you, you should check it out. The whole thing makes me feel slightly sick, though; I always get confused when I get caught up in dystopian worlds, and start thinking the real world is actually kind of like that, and get all anxious and worried. Same thing happened after I read 1984 and watched V for Vendetta.

The rest of this post is part of what I was going to post yesterday:

Bah crap, today has been a pretty horrid day. First off it took 2 rounds to get rid of a worser sort of migraine, which probably made me look like I was totally stoned at work, which is probably why the owner asked me if I was bored with my duties ("You look like you're bored") and wouldn't I like to try something else? How about culinary? No? Barista, then. We need a weekend barista, so why don't they just go ahead and schedule me in for next weekend, and I can feel free to come on my own time to practice.

Oh, but I forgot the first two parts, where I got in trouble first for using the wrong coat hanger, and second for stacking two identical dish covers.

Two hours of steaming milk. Two hours, I tell you, in which I went through roughly 8 litres of milk in the pursuit of perfectly concocted microfoam. So frustrating at first, because it all turned out the same, and it always looked the same to me, but it was too thick, or too thin, or my "vortex was too violent", but I had to "ok, try again" time after time until the end of my shift.

At any rate, apparently I've mastered 2% and skim microfoam on my first day, whoopdido. All I was able/allowed to turn out were one chai latte ("that last one was much too thick... oh look, there's an order for a chai latte; that needs to be thicker, so try to remember what you did last time and do it again") and some skim microfoam for a latte (which someone else poured). And brought on the second half of the migraine. The right side doesn't make me quite so nauseous, but it does make everything between my eyebrow and chin go numb.

So why was I thrown into barista traineeship in the first place? It's rather comical. The owner has been hinting for a few weeks that I should have a meeting with him to decide where my future with the Awfully Waffley should lie. Today he kind of tricked me into suggesting an answer (I said something to the effect that I'd much rather be a barista than build saucy cold potatoes all day) and proclaimed that I would henceforth train to be the weekend head barista manager person. Well, I don't want to work weekends, blast it all. Plus, the girl who started with me has been training to be weekend barista for over a week now. I said, well she really wants to be barista, I know, so why don't I try something else? That's not on weekends? He said, well, I think it would be good to have a little competition, to see who will become weekend barista fastest, plus she's a student and won't always be available on weekends. I said, oh ok, but I'd like to sit down and talk with you sometime anyway, about my future here. He said, no, we'll try you as barista, it's a good skill to have anyway, and if you decide it's not for you you can try something else after.

I'll give it a week, or maybe a little more, then break the news to him that I shall also soon be a student who is required not to take full-time employment. And that I will definitely not be working weekends while I'm a student. And might not even be here anymore by then anyway. And that I wasn't bored, I was just having a bad day. And if my weeriness is well-founded, medical concerns will force me to not be a barista. The steaming makes my eye pound and temple throb; I also can't handle the caffeine involved in the job. A barista has to keep tasting the shots every day to make the necessary adjustments. "You're not a coffee drinker, are you? You'll have to start tasting the espresso." It all tastes the same to me anyway (bad; like alcohol which tastes bad no matter what the drink is but you just have to pour it down your throat so as to avoid the tastebuds, that's why people always laugh at me for guzzling drinks so quickly). How should I know if it's sour, or if the shot was 4 seconds too long, or whatever?

The only good part of the day was when my nemesis trainee came in and asked me if I would take her Sunday shift. I have never been so firm or unhesitating as when I replied "NO." And my muffin at Starbucks was pretty awesome.

5 comments:

rt said...

Well be warned: the strategy of the Year Zero thing is to compare the present to the dystopian future (very near future - only 15 years from now) and erase any supposed distinction between the two. It is a very effective strategy. It is explicit, and scary, and very believable.

But there is a very positive side: this campaign is reaching a huge audience and really making them think about what is going on in the world and the U.S. in particular, and impelling them to take some form of action.

Your readers may also be interested to know that the entire amazing album can be heard online in high audio quality here. It asks for your email address but I think that is optional (you could just give a fake address if you want, or sign up for the newsletter).

-rt

mēgan said...

Yeah, that's totally what I mean: Year Zero makes you see the potential for imminent dystopia in the present. It's important because dystopia is not at all far-fetched, and society needs to prepare against it. Trent is my new hero.

Amy said...

Year Zero sounds like the Taliban, or what Bush is doing with his administration. If you follow some of the stories about what the US government does to the people it inters and interrogates, it's pretty scary. This is the now. It is happening. It is here.

Sounds like you're not being quite clear on your not wanting to coffee at people. Maybe you need an interpreter, or just a mediator.

ryan said...

Yes, it is very blatantly about what Bush is doing with his administration. (Highlight text to make it visible, and drag the overlays from left and the top into place to see the "hidden" message.)

See also: other Year Zero pages (drag the image).

-rt

mēgan said...

Those overlays give me no end of trouble; so, for all of our general behoof, I've constructed a jpg of the "Another Version of the Past" hidden message here. In the timeline, year -15 would be the present.