by Cole Allenby

I never would have thought that people could receive such joy from seeing a cup of coffee entering their hands. Yet somehow, during recent months, I have seen people smile the most, despite it being behind a mask.

Working at the Cape Cod Coffee Café during the pandemic has given me an entirely new perspective on how people are keeping their mental health steady during this craziness. It has also revealed how a common, communal place that allows one to enjoy a meager meal and/or beverage helps those who would otherwise be alone during this pandemic. Working as a barista has me making coffee from 6 a.m. to 2 or 4 p.m. for the queue that implores the catapult of caffeine. Whether it is a first responder on their way to or from a call or shift, a snowplow crew that is coming in for breakfast, or the old couple that lives up the street, everyone finds joy in a 16-ounce cup of hot coffee.

This shared love causes new friendships and relationships to bud out of one conversation, and it is incredible for such associations to happen through all the current restrictions and guidelines that stiffen us in our homes, like vile vines. It is also heartwarming to see the routines that people create around simply getting a cup of coffee. The people they expect to see in the building or behind the counter are all a part of their way of staying in touch with the community. My heart goes out to the older couples and people who come in and whose faces light up when they see me. I know that I am making a difference in someone’s ability to stay sane and safe during this hard time, and that’s enough for me.