Observations from behind the apron.

Thank the Pope for the end of the holidays.  Love them, indulge and then get totally over it. Life must have structure she says.  All that eating, drinking and trying to remember what day of the week it is … too many left over chocolates conflicting with the resolutions.  So she rises in the dark of London … lights on at five am … yuck … thrilled to hear the tubes working and off to the ‘other job’.  Yay, life is moving again.

For the newbies, I am travel consultant/event planner/writer and part time waitron.  The latter gets me out of my little abode that can at times become trying and into social engagement. I disappear behind an apron and try to remember the orders, which all of you, be a little more compassionate with this brain and all those silly requests for extra hot/one shot/almond milk/a little more foam but no foam and put it on the side sort of thing.  I don’t mind, I am floating above all over you and whilst you ponder the Silver something behind the apron, I in turn prattle, enquire and entertain.  And observe – life in a café is a life lesson of note.

You reveal all your stories.

Keep mine close.

Today there were tears.  She is meeting her ex to discuss the schedule for children caught between their letting go of each other. Both defensive and staring at diaries rather than each other.  She has heard bad news, trying to smile but her eyes are maps of her misery over the espresso.

He misses home in Australia. It’s tough spending the winter here on his own and all resolve to forge a new life is waning in the missing. Feels left out from it all back home – the smiling and saying it’s all good wanes with the need to chat.

Her child shifts the eggs around on her plate.  Mother on the mobile, not with her. Dealing with the world, but not with her.

A flat white and a slice of banana bread to pass the time.  She is alone, her Silver hair speaks volumes of figuring out what to do next.

The three year old boys faces a barrage of entrance tests to get into the right school. He wants to read books, mother wants to groom him to get it right and the competition is fierce.

Discussing the next safari – but where to go?  I say nothing but it is not easy. 

Bringing all the post with them. Christmas cards to be dealt with – they have been away and life has happened in the meantime. Unopened they tear them one by one, it is past … someone took the time to send them wishes. I clear the table to dispose of the wishes.

London wakes to the New Year.  Going back to work.  Shall I see the regulars asking for a discount?  Have some changed jobs, locality, have some taken that leap and changed everything?  Around the world have some taken a resolve to begin again, move house, change jobs, relationships?  In this little space much has changed since Christmas, and little has too.

‘Thank God you are still here.’ happened.

And I am still here. I know your favourites.  Your little scenes you think I don’t notice. You know little of me and that is the way it should be. Behind the apron I gather stories, make friends, give solace and learn.  I always learn from you.

Good to be in this space. I grow and gather.

Never stop learning, and listening and realise, as I do, that life is life for everyone – and then you make the choices.

Wow, it is awesome and I am going to take each story, everyday I am behind the apron, to high five life and to realise that the fat lady is far from singing.

I kind of like the idea that I have pushed myself out there, to learn a little more, take it all in and build a life anew.  Far cry from the past of madam had it everything, but close to the life madam is going to embrace.  The apron will not last forever, but the memories of being empowered, will.

As a student I spent all my free time being a waitron.  I earned my way. It changed my life, my direction in my studies and taught me so much.  Now, forty years later I am the waitron again, with a little more strain on the body, but not in spirit, I have gone back to learn, and remind myself that observing others is the way to stand back, behind the apron, and in time, leap into a new direction.

And if you, in your Silver Street time, are feeling a little lost, a little unaccepted or unloved – go find an apron. You are never too old to begin again …

 

Image: mylittleparis