On Becoming A Regular

Enter. Walk slowly toward the register.

“Oh hi John! I’ll get that medium coffee for you. I know just how you like it.”

Sometimes, I throw in a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on Texas toast for good measure. MMM! I did today, in fact.

As time has continued on, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to our friendly neighborhood Dunkin Donuts, and in particular the people who work there.

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One nice young woman always enjoys coming over to my table and making small talk as I chat, I think as a bit of a respite from the long hours of work she puts in. I guess I can’t complain too much about my eight-hour, five-days-a-week job when she might put in 12 hours and sometimes work six days. Man alive, I need to find that kind of drive.

No matter where I relocate, I usually find some place in which I become a sort of regular. In my last independent residence, Carrboro’s Estes Park Apartments, we didn’t have any nearby restaurants or convenience stores I could easily access. So, I often hung out in the leasing office. But hey, they made some of the best tasting coffee I’ve ever had in there. And it was free. Getting to know the staff like that also led to other very necessary perks during those broke days, like letting more than a few late rents slide by and helping with other things like going to the grocery. Even so, I certainly hope I never end up in that kind of crazy situation again.

Of course while there, I did establish regular status in Chapel Hill establishments like Sutton’s, an old-style soda shop that serves hot dogs, burgers, and big, filling breakfasts. I had been going there somewhat frequently even from Durham, until I came to like my current area and its more convenient access more. I have a server in Suttons to whom I enjoy talking, also an incredibly hard worker who routinely puts in six days. I’m not entirely sure we respect enough the people who put food on our tables, well heck we often plain look down on them. This shouldn’t be.

And then, there’s the place with which I think people most associate the idea of “regular”ness, Starbucks. They have one of those on Franklin in Chapel Hill also, but the reason I love it there is it has a local, homely atmosphere. Some of my best writing has happened in there.

Have you become a regular anywhere? If so, what is your typical order. Do the servers know you? I wonder to what degree this happens in other countries. I definitely find it fascinating the slow, predictable way that this credential comes into being.

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