I currently work at a coffee shop in historic downtown Berkeley, California. Our clientele always features a significant number of crazy people, homeless people, and crazy homeless people. We had a few remarkably hot days last week. This heat only made things much, much crazier.
At one point, after a particularly lengthy, stressful, exhausting rush, a customer, who was clearly gifted with some sort of cosmic ability to peer deep into my soul because somehow she could tell that I was a bit stressed and a bit exhausted, looked deep into my eyes and said, "There is so much trouble there." She then took a few ice cubes from out of the iced tea I had just handed her, grabbed my hand, and squeezed tightly. Her face contorted in a look of powerful concentration as she bent her will on purging this trouble from my soul. She began to shake as she fought an epic battle with the demons of stress and exhaustion that were inhabiting me, as I stood there wondering if I was supposed to be shaking too, or if she was doing all the work and I was supposed to appear increasingly serene. Finally I settled for focusing my effort on just trying not to look like I thought she was crazy.
When it was over, I made a half-hearted attempt to appear grateful for her efforts and to indicate that I was feeling better. A few minutes later, I realized that I actually was feeling better. The sheer unusualness of the experience, and her desire to help, oddly expressed as it was, had helped me relax and laugh a bit and forget the stress brought on by the mobs of irritable high school kids demanding free cups of ice water.
I love Berkeley.
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6 years ago