In a Word . . .

. . . barista

I wonder what she'll do now, the girl in the coffee shop who was such a stickler for "your Covid cert? Your photo ID? Your contact number?" every time.

As the pandemic restrictions ease and masks, Covid certs, photo IDs, and contact numbers are no longer required every time before you can even pay an outrageous €3.50 for a cup of coffee, what will she do?

Did she get a kick out of insisting regulars like me should be put through those hoops every single time we visited the coffee shop, as we have been doing for more years that we care to remember?

Admittedly she was new, but getting planning permission to build a 35-storey apartment building in the Phoenix Park would take less time, or so it seemed, than she took in going through those motions again and again before I'd be allowed a bloody Americano.

What made it particularly infuriating was that all other members of the coffee shop staff were so different. They would say “Ah, you were here yesterday. It’s okay” or “we know who you are” etc.

It was enough for them to see all my proofs just once. Not so when Ms Stickler was on. Then it was chapter and verse and letter of the law. I've always been more of a spirit of the law person myself. Letter-of-the-law types get further up my nose than any antigen test.

I kid you not but once, when I forgot my photo ID, she refused me the pleasure of paying €3.50 for a coffee. I had to leave, coffee-less.

“One” was not happy. What was I doing there anyhow under that pretentious coffee menu? And I asked myself, “Well . . . how did I get here?/Letting the days go by/Same as it ever was.” I hummed the Talking Heads track to myself in an attempt not to lose it entirely with Ms Stickler.

As further soothing distraction, I set about a silent translation of the coffee menu: Americano – black coffee; flat white – white coffee; cappucchino – frothy white coffee; latte – milky coffee; espresso – small strong coffee; double espresso – more strong coffee; macchiato – milk and strong coffee; mocha – coffee, chocolate and warm milk; tea – tea.

Calmed down, I left.

Barista, a coffee house employee, from Italian for bartender.

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