Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Afternoon in the Life of a Pregnant Barista

So this is my life at work right now. Every day. If you find this post to be too long and painful to read, suck it up and read it anyway. My shifts are too long and painful to work, but I still work them to the bitter end.

Car drives up to drive-thru window.

MeSucking in stomach super hard and sort of bending forward so that my apron conceals some of the bump. Trying very hard to not look pregnant so I can avoid all of the questions and comments. At this point, failing. "Hi there! How are you doing today?"
CustomerVery quick but still perceptible glance down at my belly and then up at my face. "Good, thanks... how are you today...?"

(This is usually said with either an oh-crap-she's-pregnant-what-do-I-say-deer-in-the-headlights look or an ohhhh-you're-preeeegnant-and-i-know-it-which-makes-me-special-somehow-and-what-kind-of-witty-comment-can-I-make-about-it smirk. They say it like that because they want me to launch into the discussion of how I am pregnant so that we can talk about it, which they are dying to do.)

Me: "Goodthanksyourtotalwillbe$3.94today!" (I have to say this part, or at least the "goodthanks" part, really really quickly so that they can't make a comment about the fact that I'm pregnant. If I pull that off, this happens:)

Customer: Hands me their card, answers my questions about needing a receipt, etc. Continues to cast little glances at my belly.
Me: "Doyouneedareceiptwiththis?" (Still being quick.)
Customer: "Yes please."
Me: Grabbing my belly and hoisting it up and onto the window ledge so that I can lean out the window, handing them their card and receipt. "Hereyougo thanks we'llhaveyourdrinksrightout!" Quickly shutting window and running away to hide out of view of the window while bar person makes drinks.

Me: Grabbing finished drinks and returning to window. Picking up belly again and hoisting it onto ledge; involuntarily holding breath while leaning out the window because the ledge is compressing my baby against all of my already-compressed organs including my lungs and making it impossible to breathe. *Gasp* "Hereyougo thankshaveagreatday!!" *gasp* Practically throwing the drinks at them so I can stop leaning and breathe. Loudness and length of gasping is directly related to how low to the ground the tiny cars or towering into the sky the diesel trucks are and thus how far I have to stretch.

Customer: Glances at my belly again. Looks disappointed that the moment for commenting has passed. Drives away resignedly.


If I don't speak quickly at that first crucial moment of contact, then all is lost, and this happens:

Car drives up to drive-thru window.

Me: "Hi there! How are you doing today?"
Customer: The glance. Every time. First at my belly, then at my face. Deer-in-headlights or ooh-you're-pregnant-and-I'm-on-to-you! look. "Good, thanks, how are you today...?"
Me: "I'm good, thanks!" SmileDraw in breath in preparation to give them their total and complete the transaction. "So your tot-"
Customer: "Yeah? You hanging in there in this heat?"
Me: "Erm... yes. So your total today is-"
Customer: By now they have definitely made sure that I am pregnant and not just fat and say, "So how much longer do you have???" Or "When is your due date???" or "Any day now, huh???" (Note that "Any day now, huh" started at about five months pregnant.)
Me: Forcing down an exasperated sigh and giant eye roll. "Oh, another month or so!" or "Umm... end of August? Ish?" (Very important to not give the exact date or they will exclaim over the fact that that is their/their mom's/their nephew's/their dog's birthday and how it is just the best day ever on which one could possibly birth and that now we have this huge thing in common even though the chances of my baby actually being *born* on that day are like 8% or some similarly small number. Also, telling them I'm due later than I actually am is important so that we don't have to start The Conversation About How I am Working at Nine Months Pregnant And How Amazing It Is and How Miserable I Must Be and How Sorry For Me They Are.) or "Well, I've still got awhile to go." (Sometimes when they say "Any day now" I'll just say "Yep." I started doing that at five months pregnant too.) "Yep! Any day! SO, YOUR TOTAL TODAY WILL BE $3.94!"

The rest of the scenario finishes pretty much as above, including requisite hoisting, gasping, and organ compression, though extra work must be done to discourage continued pregnancy-related conversation.
Customerinevitably, as they drive away: "Congratulations! You take care of yourself! I'm your best friend now because we've had this conversation and I fully expect you to call me when you go into labor so that I can be present at your birth and commentate the entire time on everything related to every intimate aspect of your anatomy and oh, I will also be naming your baby for you! It's a girl, by the way! I can tell by the way you're carrying/the way you smell/the fact that I know everything there is to know ever about pregnancy and babies!"

The worst case scenario, which seems to be happening more and more often these days, plays out similarly to those above but involves comments and questions beyond the realm of the when-are-you-due and geez-you-must-be-hot variety.


Car drives up, pleasantries exchanged, etc.

Customer: "Oh! Everybody told me you were a virgin! HA! HA!" (My reply to this was a weak "Uhh... sorry about that?"/window slam/run away. We all thought of great comebacks after the fact, of course. They included "Really? Everybody told me YOU were a WHORE!" and "Uh...I AM a virgin!" Oh well. At least now I'm prepared for the inevitable next time someone says this to me.)
Customer: "Wow, you're nine months' pregnant? Your belly is so small! You don't even LOOK pregnant!"   (Okay, I know that when people say this they probably mean it as a compliment. But people telling me I look small drives me BONKERS. People telling me I look small when my belly is actually HUGE, or at least FEELS huge, is like telling someone carrying a pallet full of bricks in the hot sun, "Oh, look at that tiny little lightweight package you're carrying!" It's not true, it's not helpful, and I'd prefer if you acknowledged how much work I'm actually putting into this instead of downplaying it, thank you very much!)
Customer: Pointing to belly, "You know how that happens, don't you?" (...>.<)
Customer: "You're pregnant again?? Didn't you JUST have a baby?" (Uhh... two and a quarter years ago, yes...)
Customer: "Oh ho! Better watch out for you!" or some similar comment that makes absolutely NO sense at all and is the customer's failed attempt at coming up on the spot with some remark about the fact that I'm pregnant, because they HAVE to make a remark or SOME kind. Everyone does. But seriously - "better watch out for me?" What does that even mean??
Customer: "You'd better sleep while you still can!" or "Pretty soon you'll REALLY be tired!" or something similarly obvious. Yes, I am aware that babies do not sleep twenty four hours a day. I'm also aware that babies poop and drool. I think most people are aware of that. Even if I weren't aware, I'd probably figure it out quickly enough on my own without you telling me. Thanks.
Customer: After I tell them that the sex of the baby will be a surprise: "Ohh.... you're one of THOSE." (I have to add that almost immediately after making that comment, she tried (unsuccessfully!) to get my phone number and gave me a card and pamphlets for her work-at-home pyramid scheme, telling me I'd be perfect for it. Really??
Customer: "You must be having twins!" Nope. "Are you sure???" YES, I'm sure! We've had two ultrasounds and can feel all the baby parts. "I dunno, you might be surprised..."
Customer: "Oh, don't lift that!" Boxes, floor mats, etc. Me: "It's okay, this weighs less than my toddler. Really, I'm fine." Customer: "You'll go into labor!" Me: "Um... no I won't. Although I'm actually really, really okay with that at this point, anyway." Customer: "Oh, you say that now, but it will HURT! You don't want to go into labor!" Me: ...Just walking away before I say something I regret.

...Wow, you made it to the end of this post!! Good job! I hope you now understand the torment of what it is like to be a pregnant barista and to have to field questions and comments about your pregnancy OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again from every single customer for hours every day. It's great. You should try it some time. It will improve your working life immeasurably.


  1. Love it Sarah, I can totally hear your voice in this. Im totally gonna come by now and tell you I thought you were a virgin lol... I love you! Congrats on your blog! Love you Spob.

  2. As a man, I've often wondered what it would be like. Now I know, every possible scenario. Thank you so much for writing this blog and relieving me of this life long pondering. You are an excellent writer: fresh, original, insightful. I'm pleased to discover your blog. I really didn't even know you were pregnant.

  3. Maybe they just moved to sandpoint and they dont have a job yet and they are so lonely and looking for human interaction and -lucky them-when they pass through the drive thru to get a tall mocha they see your protruding abdomen and decide to linger a bit longer in converation with a real live person who obviously has something interesting going on in her life. and, but for a moment while talking to you about the human condition they forget their loneliness.

    1. I promise that I can tell which people are genuinely interested and respond accordingly. Most people are not. Also, Marianne, I assure you that if you came through my drive thru I would talk to you about my pregnancy and anything else until the cars in line started honking! I miss you!!

  4. You should just tape a sign to your belly that says "I'm due August 1st, and thanks for not asking." And then draw a smiley face.

  5. You are so right about the birthday bit. That was definitely my least favorite part about pregnancy. "Oh that's my sisters ex-husbands dogs birthday!" Super. Fuck off people.

    Love the posts Sarah! :)

  6. I am not sure if you meant for this to be funny, but as I read it I was laughing myself to tears! I am glad you started this blog--you have an awesome writing style. Truly fun to read!

    1. Thanks Kristin! I just found your blog - I'm really enjoying it - you should post an update soon! :-)