Exploring the food and drink options in a new neighborhood is one of the things that helps me get through the ordeal of moving, which I view as a severe psychological punishment inflicted upon me personally. My girlfriend and I recently relocated, and the first item on our to-do list (before unpacking or scouting for emergency exits) was to locate our new Local Cafe.
Similar to how experts say “it’s important to buy a good mattress because you spend a third of your life in bed,” I say “it’s important to find a barista you can make small talk with for 15 minutes every day until your sublease expires, because you’ll be talking to them more than to your mother.” Possibly less universal, but equally true
So we set out, prepared to put in the work. Over the course of a few weeks, we sampled each of the numerous cafes within a reasonable walking distance from our home, regardless of our physical condition.
We chose The One after copious amounts of coffee, food, and trial and error (during which I paid $14.50 for a mediocre ham-and-cheese croissant, which I will NEVER get over). This cafe has everything: the closest we could get is if we paid the baristas to work in our kitchen, the coffee tastes divine, and the staff is friendly and makes us feel welcome.
We’d done it! It was flawless.
except for one minor detail
If you become a regular at a cafe, the staff will attempt to learn your name, as it is both a good business practice and a courteous gesture. They accomplish this by requesting and remembering your name when placing an order. My girlfriend accomplished this simple task without a hitch by communicating her name, which was then accepted.
It was slightly more challenging for me. After a few visits, I heard one of the baristas call out my name. It sounded slightly different to “Rebecca,” but I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying, so I just let it go.
It became abundantly clear after a few more visits that everyone at the cafe knew my name as “Rachel.”
This is a very simple error to make when dealing with two of the most mundane white female names in the world, but it left me at a crossroads. Others disagreed with the “crossroads” part, seeing one very clear path: inform the incredibly kind people at the cafe that a name mix-up occurred.
For them, it was a simple task, but I was unable to complete it. It had been too long, and the embarrassment I would feel was too great, as was the fear that I would embarrass them.