Donna’s Dig

Donna P. Crilly

Donna P. Crilly
City Times

4:30 a.m.: I stumbled out of my cigarette smoke-filled car, purse and apron in hand, not-so ready to wake up, let alone start work.

My co-worker, let’s call her Kim, crept up from the unlit parking lot toward the door of the coffee shop.

“I’m so effing pissed! I woke up to spilt bong water all over the living room carpet and my dumb roommate passed out on the couch.”

“That sucks,” I said.

I could barely formulate sentences at that horrid hour and my eyes were watery from yawning so much.

We didn’t say much to each other for about 10 more minutes.

The routine of walking in and setting up for the business day was all-to mechanical.

I stopped to get a cup of water when I hear a loud “UGH” from behind.

“What’s wrong,” I asked reflexively, without turning my head.

“This sucks. I hate waking up this early and then I have to go home to my stinky apartment with my nasty carpet and my idiot roommate,” Kim said. “I just really don’t wanna be here right now.”

I yawn, “Maybe you should change your availability.”

“I can’t. Mids go by really slow and closing sucks,” she said. “I’m so over this job and school. I have two mid-terms today and a paper due.”

This was the basis of many a mornings for dear Kim and me. In fact, this was the basis of many a mornings for several of my coworkers and me.

I know there are established lists of what not to say in a professional work environment but one doesn’t necessarily need a resume to obtain the type of job I do: Serve coffee.

So where do we draw the line? Telling Kim to shut her pie-hole would make the working situation slightly awkward and I know it would perpetuate a string of gossip topics within the store. So how do I approach it?

Do I passively nod my head and answer with generic “ohs” and “oohs”?

I’m sure many people ponder politics of work relations or either get sucked into the gossip pool and speak things that should be kept in their minds.

There are several instances where I am flabbergasted to hear Kim and others complain about customers moments after they step out the door while others even whisper something about a co-worker while he or she is on the other side of the room occupied by a customer.

Once we graduate from high school, we supposedly leave behind a lot of the childish bull-mess that we see re-enacted in cheesy teen movies.

Complaining about parents, life, boyfriends and girlfriends, school, this and that; all part of the common hot high school topics.

Gossip and cliques highlighted for some, our most awkward years.

Many diploma recipients now consider this petty and call themselves more mature.

A lot of these mature diploma recipients perpetuate gossip circles and bring it to a larger, more “mature” scale.

I now realize that the only difference between high school for these diploma recipients and the “real world” are the security guards at the entrance of the school.

The conversations are the same, disguised in the language and subject matter of proximity and relevance.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy having a casual conversation that may or may not border on the professional standard of “taboo” talk.

It often makes the 9-to-5 more interesting, but telling me a funny story about your personal adventures is different from telling me that the last customer was a “douche” and then promptly explaining the details of how and why he or she is one.

(Donna P. Crilly is a City Times staff writer)