24 Hours

Ashley - 76135, Texas
Entered on December 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem
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I believe in the 24 hours in the day and all the opportunities they offer us. From the early morning to the late night, there’s always something going on. It’s up to us to embrace these hours and live them to their fullest each and every day.

Working as a barista in a popular Starbucks Coffee Shop, I see a lot of people experiencing various hours of their days. Each person has a different story to tell about their lives and these specific moments they’re living in front of me. Some of them wish to share and some just allow me to simply observe. Either way, I’m always learning something new from my customers.

Some days, I begin my shift at 4:30 in the morning and greet the early birds with a smile and a yawn. The morning crowd generally consists of three groups. There are the runners, who make a daily detour in their jog to grab a morning coffee and a glass of ice water. Runners don’t stay long in one place, they tend to give me a friendly greeting and sprint back out the door. Another morning group I see are the business professionals. These cheerful faces stomp through the door in ties and stilettos and demand lattes and newspapers on their way to work. And, as long as they aren’t running late, I can generally get a polite conversation with them. The third group I see in the morning is the smallest group. These are the people who are still awake from the night before. Some of them have been working their night jobs and are grabbing a donut on their way to their beds. Others have been out with friends and are most likely trying to sober up before class.

As the day continues, many of these people and people like them come through the store again, looking for another caffeine fix to make it through the afternoon. Daytime customers are so different, it’s hard to place them in categories. Some are shopping; some are having meetings. Many are too busy to turn their attention away from their bluetooth headsets long enough to let you know if they want room for cream in their grande coffee. Whatever the case, these people come through and make me a small part of their day. I hear stories of the morning stresses and plans for the evening relaxations. The afternoons are always a great time to be with people.

In the evening the store slows down. Customers want dessert drinks and long conversations. They come through with friends and dates and spend a few hours in the cafe. Students bring piles of books and set themselves in a corner table for the night with a never ending glass of water. I meet with all of these people. The couples want to hear compliments or to nervously chat with me so that they don’t have to pay attention to their date. The students want to use me as an excuse to take a study break for the third, fifth, or even eighth time. With each scenario I come across with at night, I’m always pleasantly greeted with a slow pace and a group of patrons just happy that their days are coming to a close.

But, the day is far from over. Long after I have closed down the coffee shop for the night, there are still people everywhere living their lives to the fullest. There are still diners serving coffee and eggs to college students who have been pushed out of my store for the evening. There are people moving on from their evening meals to a new hip nightclub where they can meet friends and drink attractive drinks. There are parents glancing in at their sleeping children just one last time before they turn off the lights. And, there are people heading out to work the night shift after a long afternoon of sleep.

I feel lucky to come across so many stories in my own day. It always makes me wonder if other people see the same in me. I’m sure they do. I’m quite positive that there are people everywhere watching each small moments in each other’s lives and learning new lessons for their own lives.