There is a little cafe in my building. It isn't much of a cafe, just a hole in the wall - literally - where you can order any number of breakfasty or lunchy food items. It's a little expensive, but for the convenience of not having to go out to my car and drag my unhemmed pants through the wet parking lot to drive somewhere and pay a little less, it's totally worth it.
Besides great tuna melts and perfectly toasted bagels with a luxurious amount of cream cheese, the best thing about the UC Cafe is David.
David comes in every morning and prints up the Daily Specials, and tacks it to the board near the menu. The whole set up is very professional, and the specials are usually unique and tasty.
David is Asian, and has a thick accent, though I have not asked him where he was born, yet. He ususally does the asking. And the teasing. And the political ranting. And the interrogating.
He is great.
My first encounter with him was slightly embarassing, since I didn't know at the time that he took debit cards, and assumed I could only pay with cash. Since I typically carry about 45 cents, some lint, and a button or two, this posed a problem. I somehow scraped together a 1.75 that first day and he teased me saying, "I know how budget tight. You wait for first paycheck, and you come back!"
Sometimes he asks me about myself. He knows where I went to school and what I majored in, and has used this against me many times when I can't come up with anything intelligent to say to his NPR-driven questions about Prop 8 and Sarah Palin. "You Political Science expert. I expected more from you!"
He's a tough sell, David. "You really think that? So uncreative. Same as everyone says."
"You still hate your job? What do you really want to do?"
Now I get a little nervous when I go get a sandwich. I have to be on my A-Game, or David will get upset. I'm always worried he will some day just have had enough of me and my coy side-stepping of tough questions and just refuse to serve me. That my lunch hangs in the balance, on the condition that I answer his latest query sufficiently, and that since he is bored, my insights or opinions are currency I barter for food with. "Come on, what do you really think? Don't ask me that, I just asked you. You know, forget it. You don't deserve this soup. No soup for you."
That last scene may have been borrowed from a Seinfeld episode, but sometimes I am pretty sure it's on the verge of happening.
I like that David expects a lot from me. I like that he is intelligent, and engaging, and probably would be doing something else for a career if he could afford to. I like that he puts sweet pickles in my tuna melts, and I like that he is generally the only person I look forward to seeing at work every day.