A thank you to my pizza regulars

img_6347I can't call you by name, because I don't know (most of) your names. And to the ones whose names I do know (looking at you, S.) I'm not sure I'm allowed to share it ;) I don't know your life story; I don't know where you work or what struggles you've overcome or what your day-to-day looks like.

I know very little about you, except for this: you brighten my day.

In the midst of slinging pizza and trying to coordinate things so that the kitchen stays happy and cooking, the waitress is stocked with everything she needs for the restaurant and my fellow counter staffers are busy and smiling, I can easily succumb to stress.

Enter one person who yells at me because I won't let them use the bathroom, or spits on my counter because I won't take their fake $20, or swears vengeance via Yelp because I've run out of tables, and my day could easily crumble.

And then there's you; my superhero without a cape, my knight in shining regular clothing.  You swoop in and smile and your familiar face (and order) just smoothes away all the stress and pain and hair-pulling-out-ness that comes with customer service. Suddenly, everything is fine again, because you're here.

And for 10 seconds to a few minutes, I can have a friendly conversation with a familiar face, someone who doesn't know me but seems to care.

I love you, friendly man who defends me and my store to the woman trying everything in her power to get a free slice.

I love you, Columbia student with the great accent who tells me it's OK to take time off from school.

I love you, signora who always gets the same slices and lets me practice my Italian.

I love you, D.O.C. and glass of rose buyer who helps me smoothly transition into my shift by standing at the counter and raving about the pizza.

I love you, everyone who comes in and understands. Understands that I am human and therefore prone to failure; understands that life is hectic and rules are rules; understands that sometimes all it takes is a smile to brighten a day.

If just one of  you enters my store during a hectic shift, it's the difference between ending the day a knot of nerves or feeling like I've just gotten a deep-tissue massage.

This is my love note to you; I'll come right out and say it: I love you. You're my favorite. You make my life a spot more joyous.

I love my job on every day, as I've mentioned. It's a blessing, straight from God, and I adore the people I work with, I adore the busyness, I adore the responsibility that's so removed from everything I do as a writer. I just...I love my job. My pizzeria is my home.

You guys — you're like my family away from family. You rock.

Here's a picture of pizza to make you happy.

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Hipsterville: a non-hipster's impressions of Louisville

  It's the ninth most hipster city in the US, and I, with my pencil skirt and distaste for beards, am most un-hipster. Yet today Louisville, Ky. and I met for the first time, and things went okay,


Extra-giant pizza slice at Spinelli's. Photo by Sarah Choate

We started by getting a little lost because the half marathon had blocked off several key streets, but, with hard work and some skillful maneuvering by Sarah in the driver's seat, we made it to Spinelli's Pizzeria, on Baxter Ave. It was a heaven of the weird and awesome, from the blue-haired waitress who forgot our straws to the comic book-cover wall above us and the mishmash of music played. The giant slice of pizza wasn't bad, either. 

What was bad was finding out, a few hours later, that I had been overcharged by $10 (more than double what I was supposed to be charged). Inclined at first to follow my instincts and ignore it, I finally gathered my courage and called the restaurant, because hey...money is in short supply these days, I can't just be throwing it away hither and thither. After some restaurant shuffle, I was talking to a manager with the power to help me out.

His first comment? "It shouldn't even show up in your bank statement yet." Well, I don't know what your bank is, but mine is nice and likes to make sure I know what my money is doing, so charges show up immediately. I finally got him to take me seriously. He double-checked to make sure I was telling the truth--a move I applauded--told me he would change it, then leaned away from the phone and yelled into the distance, "This is why I hate being a manager!"

Rude. Let's remember, guys, that I'm not the one who made the mistake in the first place. So, Mr. Manager, if you should ever read this, know that, well, I think you're dumb. (I'm sure that will smart).

After the unfortunate Spinelli's incident, things did get better. Sarah took me Bardstowning, which is apparently what the locals call walking the hipster side of Bardstown Road and checking out all the shops. There were some to-die-for consignment shops with lovely dresses that were all too expensive--except the Target dress I bought for Highbridge for less than $10. What a steal.

I visited Urban Attic, a super hip consignment shop where the clothes were adorable and everything felt just a little out of my cool league. Then we went to Acorn, where Sarah bought an adorable vintage owl mug and the cashier was down-to-earth, friendly and sassy, all at the same time. We checked out Why Louisville, possibly the greatest tourist trap gift shop to exist, with its wall of A-plus t-shirts and A Christmas Story replica lamp.

Finally, to end the day, we went to Sarah's aunt's house for Easter dinner. From playing with Barbies with her younger cousins to running through the grass for the Easter egg hunt, it was definitely a memorable Easter.

So there it is. I made acquaintance with part of Louisville and, though we didn't see eye to eye on everything, we shook hands and declared mutual (at least, I hope it's mutual) appreciation for the other. I can now cross "visit the ninth most hipster town in America" off my bucket list.