A few weeks ago, I mentioned my amusement and bewilderment at the array of names Starbucks staff manage to come up with, when given my name (or a variety of pseudonyms). They scribble their interpretation on the cup and then shout it out when the coffee is ready. Since they have begun this annoying habit, I have never been called the correct name. I was worried it was bad diction on my part but when a friend joined me and witnessed me loudly and clearly saying my name, we now think the staff are just unfamiliar with the names I give them.
In the past few weeks, as an ongoing scientific experiment, I have given staff my own name 'Jules' to scribble on the cups. 'Jules' I have realised - especially for our Eastern European cousins, many of whom work in Starbucks - is not a common name. I have been called: George, Goose, Jude, Jud, Juice, and even Jew!! Imagine hearing that screamed out loud in a north London coffee shop! The creme de la creme, however, was last week. I was driving down the M1, a hideous road connecting the North of England to the South. It is a vile journey at the best of times, more so when it's 90º outside and I have no air conditioning in my car. I stopped at a motorway service station and went in to the lovely cool interior to get a coffee. I felt sticky, tired, flabby and somewhat melted. The girl asked my name, nodded at my response, scribbled it with huge confidence and then gave me my coffee a minute later.
I just burst out laughing because it summed up how I felt in one word.
A month ago, I purchased my dream mattress and wrote about it here. You might be wondering why I haven't mentioned it since, considering that I imagined my whole life would change with an expensive mattress and therefore, perfect sleep. There is a reason I haven't mentioned it.
The day my mattress was delivered I made the lorry drivers wait until I lay on it, to confirm it was my perfect mattress. I lay in starfish pose, then rolled left and right on each side. One of the men caught me frowning and said “You've got a good one here luv, this is an amazing mattress”. I sat up and frowned some more, then reached out and smoothed my hand over the surface. There was an indentation towards the centre of the mattress, a sort of concave crater about an inch or so deep spreading over two feet in diameter. As I ran my hand over, I could feel that it didn't have as much padding or support. It sort of sunk slightly. “It's got a dent in it” I said, on the verge of tears. The men looked at each other with an expression of… 'oh God, we've got one of those' and the other man said “Don't worry sweetheart, it’s been on its side in the lorry, maybe pressed up against something, just give it a few weeks to settle”. So I did. A week. But I kept rolling into the dip then had to sort of ‘doggy paddle’ my way out, clambering up the incline to the side of the mattress. Not good at all.
I rang the shop and arranged for the manager to come and test the mattress. He duly came one Saturday morning and stood in the doorway to my bedroom. I began to go into a rambling explanation of what it was like to sleep on, with a horrified feeling in the back of my mind, that he wouldn’t be able to see or feel the dent and tell me I was imagining the whole thing. But no, he stopped me with a hand, stepped forward, peered down into the mattress and stated: “Collapsed internal structure. It happens sometimes”. I laughed and said “I know how it feels, I get that quite often too”. Not even a twitter. This man was here for one thing, mattress assessment. He was not in my flat for chit chat, amusement or a cup of tea and a biscuit (he had already turned that down… highly unusual). He scribbled something on a piece of paper and I said “Please put on your report that the collapsed internal structure is in no way the fault of the owner, they might think I've been bouncing around on it or doing something adventurous!“ I laughed. He gave me a look of disgust and was gone.
So I have another 6 weeks of sleeping as if I'm rolling down a hill and then I will be the proud owner of another perfect, dreamy new mattress. Hmmm…what could go wrong?