I switched my coffee spot last week. I do this periodically. Why? Well, there are a few reasons, none of which necessarily have to do with the quality of the coffee or the customer service. That is an absolute necessity.
First as a cop, I don’t want to be too predictable. I do know I am a creature of habit. A woman of ritual and routine, but as a peace officer, why make myself an easy target? Especially in these times when the uniform represents so much of the negative, has generated so much rage, frustration and grief. (Insert additional adjectives here x )
My afternoon coffee is a ritual. It is the routine that often lifts my spirit. Naw, not talking fatigue or caffeine here, but sure, those have bearing.
I like the familiar, the getting to know the baristas, the afternoon greetings, the possibility of the unexpected encounter. Encounters seem inevitable in this work. I also have come to enjoy the surprise.
The surprise shows itself in those moments when I say hello with a smile when someone is looking at me in line.
The usual responses go something like this –
“Who me?!” (As he or she looks over a shoulder)
“Did I do something?!” (Palm of hand against the chest)
“Is there a problem, ur officer.. Or is it Sergeant? (While holding the iPhone or Andriod up to record me)
“Is my car parked ok?!” (Looking nervously at a metered space or the parking lot)
“Was I talking too loud on my phone?!”(after saying, “Hold on a sec” to the individual on the other end, but conspicuously holding the phone out so the person can hear the exchange)
“Do we know one another?” (Tilting a head and often squinting to read my name tag)
The list of reactions and responses could fill a month of posts. (I will elaborate by adding more another time)
Most assume that they are trouble for something or just can’t imagine that a police officer has any reason in the universe to talk to him/her.
“No…”, I reply. “You were looking at me, so I thought I would say hello.” “Would it be ok to give your daughter, son, dog a sticker?” Lately, the exchange may generate a worthwhile conversation or in some cases, pure annoyance.
The man on the phone continues, “Yea… just some cop trying to look like she is nice…” The woman ahead of phone man whips her head around to face him, “Sir, can’t you just be civil?”
Oh no, I haven’t even ordered yet.