Sometimes you want to go when everybody knows your name

I can no longer focus for longer than three minutes in my own home, which is likely the result of some sort of post-traumatic stress from being jumped on by 40-pound males through the years.

In order to collect my thoughts — and to eat something that is not a Danimal or a peanut butter sandwich shaped like a bat — I’ve had to retreat to coffee shops. And, since I’m a parent, I’ve apparently developed just a bit of a routine, to the point where the staff actually knows who I am.

To someone with a lifelong addiction to the beautiful impersonal nature of living in a city, this was more than a little horrifying.

Earlier this year, the baristas even found it amusing to joke about the short version of my name I use for a paper coffee cup. “Oh, Jill … but you know, look at her credit card. She’s really Jillian.”

This is not what I’m looking for when I want to hide in corner with 600 empty calories and coffee that’s much too strong for me.

I took my red face and fierce anonymity elsewhere for a while, just to show them that I will not be so predictable.

But something worse has happened now. No, they aren’t texting me or paging me throughout the supermarket the shop is attached to. (Clearly, I only pick the classiest places.)

No, that is not happening, because now they’ve forsaken me. I don’t get a hello, or a flicker of recognition. Or a joke. Nothing.

I am now a regular at a place where everybody used to know my name.

And, frankly, I am feeling kind of conflicted.

From now on, I’ll go with my husband’s advice and use a different mildly inappropriate name each time: Walter. Ahmed. Larry. Octavius. Shmul.

That will teach them to forget me.—Jillian O’Connor

Have you found yourself a regular somewhere, despite your best efforts? Do you enjoy being on a first-name basis with the strangers who make you coffee?

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