Thursday, January 8, 2009
Sometimes it seems to me that the art of good listening is lying limp and lifeless, gasping for air. Are people's brains so disengaged these days that they can't really focus their full attention on what others are saying? For example, more times than not, when I go to a coffee shop and ask for a plain black coffee - no cream, the barista asks, "Do you want room for cream?" Is she bewildered by my shockingly simple order or is she mentally Twittering instead of tuning in? This annoying scenario has driven me to the point of curtly countering with, "No - I said black." *insert laser death gaze here* I'm now one step closer to "crotchety old woman" status - thanks, Starbucks.
You know who's a good listener? A cat. The TV can be blaring, people engaged in lively conversation, neighbors shooting off fireworks, and my cats can hear the sound of a can opener piercing aluminum. These felines could be passed out, comatose under multiple layers of blankets and their eyes snap open when they hear the word "treat" merely muttered in general conversation. I think this keen auditory ability makes a cat the ideal candidate for barista. Why not? Unlimited access to caffeine makes it the perfect job for a creature who is constantly tired and who would look cuter in that little green apron? These super-hearing, caffeine-infused, cuddly critters would be the model of customer service. She'd hear your coffee order as you discussed it with your friend on the walk from the car to the coffee shop. The purring paws of lightening would quickly prepare the beverage and then slide it to you, old west bartender-style as you approached the counter. You'd look up to thank her and she's simply nod and wink, moving on to the next satisfied customer.
Beware humans - as your listening skills weaken and good customer service nears extinction, there's an army of Calico, Tabby and Siamese waiting in the wings, ready to swoop in and whip up a mad Venti Latte.