Construction Delays (Part One)

During the summer of 2002 I was scouting out the Sacramento area Peet’s Coffee locations in preparation for my move up from Los Angeles in August to finish school. After a four year hiatus from college I wanted an easy transition back to student life so I had decided to step down from my management position with Peet’s and transfer to a NorCal location as a regular barista to work fewer hours.

At the time I only knew my family who lived in Lincoln, so I began to look around Roseville for an apartment. Roseville was a 25 minute commute to school, but a brand new Peet’s was supposed to be opening there that summer across from the GREAT! BIG! MALL! I’m sure you can imagine my excitement. But as moving time grew closer, I kept getting the same update about the Roseville Peet’s.

Construction delays.

I realized that my only option was going to be to work at the one Sacramento Peet’s location, which meant it would make more sense to move to Sacramento proper. I was bummed because this meant I would be farther from the only souls I knew (and of course that GREAT! BIG! MALL!) but I figured living closer to school and work would afford me the opportunity to meet more people — and let me tell you, it was one of the best things I ever did. Those construction delays brought me to a major turning point in my life.

In November of 2003, a little over a year after settling into my new Peet’s and my new Sacramento life, a few new holiday hires joined our store. One of them happened to be a guy named Garrett and if we’re being honest, I thought he was pretty smokin’ from the start.  But this is far from a love-at-first-sight story.

If you must know the truth, I used to be a little judgmental. Snap judgments seem to be my biggest flaw, but trust me when I tell you this particular situation has certainly taught me a lesson in that. The thing about Garrett’s arrival is that I wasn’t the only girl who had noticed. There was plenty of buzz surrounding him, and I thought to myself smugly, “Let the rest of these chicks swoon over him just because he’s pretty. I’m so beyond that!” You see, I had just spent 4 years doing some soul searching in Los Angeles (remarkably enough you can find your soul down there if you know where to look) and I felt like I was discriminating, damnit! I had come to Sacramento with a fiercely independent attitude, and I certainly was not going to fall prey to another pretty boy with too much gel in his hair who used to work at The Gap. Been there, done that.

I decided just about instantly that Garrett and I had nothing in common and thus acted accordingly. In my book he was just another prepped out, spoiled douchebag and my independent, all knowing self just didn’t have the time for that.

To this day, that is something I regret.

I spent a good 6-8 months not being the friendliest to him, though I definitely kept my eye on him. I remember once we had a conversation standing behind the pastry case at Peet’s and the entire time I don’t think I heard a word he was saying.  I was just staring at him sort of dumbstruck and I managed in that conversation to unknowingly twist a button off the back pocket of the green pants I was wearing. When we both realized what I did, there was sort of an awkward pause in the conversation. A snap back to reality that I can still see feel vividly (it was weird) but it was in that awkward moment that I allowed myself to admit I kinda liked the guy.

It was this giant tidal wave of emotion, and I was immediately self conscious about it. In hindsight I am surprised that I even kept myself speaking in coherent sentences. Those pants are covered in coffee stains and not to mention kind of out of style, but every time I clean out my closet I can’t bring myself to throw them out because they absolutely remind me of that moment when I knew. That moment of realization that all of my immature behavior had really just boiled down to that elementary school style of showing affection – be mean to the ones you truly love.

I wrestled with that epiphany for a while and put it in the back of my mind. As I realized what a jerk I had been and amended that behavior, we slowly became better friends (shocker.) Piece by piece we told each other our stories over shared pitchers of Newcastle, and long phone calls that didn’t end until one of us fell asleep. We exchanged CDs with each other (CDs! Oh the relics of youth!) and began a tradition of doing pub trivia at Streets of London every Sunday night with a few of our other co-workers. Presently I’m a Monday thru Friday 9 to 5-er, and I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that I have never looked forward to a Sunday night with such anticipation as I did during that time in my life.

The best part of our new found friendship was that on top of Garrett being a wonderful guy that I was loving to get to know, he was also my coworker (which, hello! meant I got to see him ALL THAT MUCH MORE).  A few mornings per week he would be the first face I saw at 5am when we would roll into our store with our sleepy faces on,  claim our regular parking spots and dive into acomfortable, wordless routine. Those were the best mornings and they are some my clearest and fondest memories of that time – the days when I got up a little bit earlier to plan my outfit and used just a little extra Cool Mint Listerine. When I would look at the schedule with anticipation every week to see what it would hold.

We spent so many days drinking espresso, cracking inside jokes, and accidentally brushing arms while making drinks. The intimacy was palpable and we built a relationship over coffee beans that plays over and over in my head to a soundtrack of Radiohead, Stars, Muse, and The Arcade Fire. To this day when I hear Muse’s “Endlessly” it makes my heart beat just a little bit quicker in remembrance of that time.

But this phase in our relationship did ultimately cause a problem of its own. Not really dating, but having a relationship that was so intense meant we were constantly in limbo. And this went on for a LONG time. For OVER A YEAR! And let me tell you, for a high strung control freak like me who is constantly setting goals and trying to take action in her life– that limbo phase ate me up inside.

In my mind it all made sense– Boy: check, Great Chemistry: check, Butterflies: check, Shared Values: check – the potential was amazing and every day that it wasn’t being realized it began to irritate me more and more. All this philosophizing about life and agreeing about relationship standards– all the laughing and having fun and the late night phone calls just weren’t working for me without a label (I know, I’m a total spaz – spare your comments, I’m totally aware). BUT I WANTED A TITLE DAMNIT! I was an English major, I liked definitions and words that identified things. Words brought clarity, and I wanted it settled in my mind already. I wanted to know what we were doing, where we were going, and I definitely wanted the fairytale exclamation that Garrett had loved me this whole time.  Preferably confessed in a romantic, grandiose fashion

Ha!

Unfortunately that wasn’t exactly how we came to be. The beginning of my relationship with Garrett was wrought with its own construction delays…

Story Continued here

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