Awkward Coffee moments

While working on the cafe today it became uncomfortably apparent that our chef was sick. At first I thought he was just hungover – he is nineteen after all, and refused to give him any sympathy. However,  as his left eye, already red and puffy, began to swell up alarmingly and the hacking coughing noises from the kitchen became difficult to explain to customers, we all had to admit that he was probably suffering from some kind of tropical disease.
Apart from shooing him back into the kitchen everytime he and his eye tried to emerge, there wasn’t a lot that we could do. He wore a surgical mask over his nose and mouth (although I would have suggested an eye patch), the sound of coughing was gradually replaced by the sound of frantic and almost constant hand washing, and we were able to sell meals and sandwiches without feeling to guilty or risking infection.

And then a certain customer appeared at the till, and my heart sank. To give you an idea of my despair, I had previously encountered this customer while working on the deli about a week or so ago. She had been buying some reduced olives and was raving about what a good bargain it was. Trying to be helpful I explained that the rare beef was on special offer and also “it’s very fresh” I said, poking the meat demonstratively to show how the blood oozed out. I’m not even sure if this is a measure of freshness, but some customers love it. Not this lady, however. She recoiled in disgust, “I’m a vegetarian”. I stopped poking the meat and tried to wipe my finger discreetly on my apron, “oh”.
Since this incident, I have served her several times, and each time she insists that I wear disposable gloves before touching anything. (Even though I have assured her that I really do wash my hands all the time; even though she is such a germaphobe I am inexplicably compelled to lick her face.)

Anyhow, she turns up to the cafe, sees me, and before she even orders her drink she asks me to wash my hands. I half heartedly try and explain to her that I’m not actually going to stick my hands into her boiling hot latte, or fiddle with her chocolate sprinkles, but then give up and go and wash my hands. She also orders a toasted sandwich and asks me to “tell the chef to wash his hands”. I know Lewis has been washing his hands all day (he has done almost nothing else, other than feel sorry for himself and drag his massive eye around) and so ordinarily I wouldn’t need to pass on this message. However, the door to the kitchen is wide open and so she will hear if I don’t pass it on. I go through and apologetically ask Lewis to wash his hands…again. With the door still wide open, and under the beady glare of the germaphobe, Lewis turns to me and delivers the immortal line; “oh no! Does she know I’m sick?!”
Well, now she does…
That was the most awkward sandwich I’ve ever served.

In other less awkward developments, balloon animals and the ceramics cafe!