A return to Wicked roots
I have a long history of aiming high. I also have a long history of assuming that while I may not be the best at any given jobs or hobbies, I will at the very least find the most interesting jobs and hobbies to pursue. The thought of ever doing something ordinary with my life doesn’t just repulse me, it terrifies me. It was that terror that drove me out of working in the pleated, veneered world of customer service into the motley, fiery world of professional cooking. Some people are scared of spiders. I am stopped cold in my tracks at the thought of jobs that require me to wear a name tag.
So it is unsurprising that I have not only worked at San Francisco’s first and only kinky coffee shop, but now I am working there again.
“Wicked Grounds!” you say. “I thought they had closed?” Yes, readers. They did. And now, against all odds, they are open again. I could go into detail about the nasty circumstances that caused them to shut so abruptly. I could sing the praises of those in the greater Bay Area BDSM communities who stepped up to support the Wicked Grounds family in dark days. I could tell you about the night that baristas new and old gathered at the shop to cry into our whiskey and say our final goodbyes to the ghost who haunts the space (a remnant of 289 8th Street’s days as a leather bar, where rumors are that one night a patron sat down and promptly died at the bar of a heart attack). But none of that matters, because for the foreseeable future Wicked Grounds is open and will stay open.
Very little has changed since I stopped working at the cafe. The hours are a bit different. We don’t make sandwiches anymore. There are now more than two owners and I seem to meet a new one every day. But I still spend at least two mornings a week with the door closed, blasting The Pixies and singing along to “Gouge Away” at the top of my warbling little lungs while baking brownies. I still die a little on the inside whenever anyone’s drink order involves more than three words and includes syrups. I still mildly annoyed at those who come in, order one drink, and proceed to unsheathe their laptops and occupy a table for hours playing World of Whatever It Is You Damn Nerds Are Wasting Time On This Week.
In my first handful of days back at the cafe, I caught fleeting tastes of concentrated, finely distilled bitterness in my mouth at the thought that I am still working as a god damn barista at this point of my life. Most of my peers at school are off on summer internships at Very Prestigious Newspapers. Most of my dear friends are working for Very Lucrative Tech Companies and collecting Very Appealing Stock Options. I’m jealous. I’m frustrated. I want to be out there. I want to be changing the world, not brewing tea.
Then, I find myself wearing a pair of jeans and a skintight latex top while pouring coffee for two fully uniformed police officers who have stumbled in looking for a late night coffee on the start of their graveyard shift. Behind them a group of adults dressed as their “little” personas play board games and doodle in coloring books.
My cappuccinos may not be changing the world, but at least I can continue my streak of working the most interesting jobs I can find.