During my second semester in Adelaide I worked as a waitress in a small cafe called Oreo Cafe. My shift was every Thursday and Friday. After few weeks I noticed I was recognising the majority of our customers. Usually they were people living or working close by and coming to the cafe every week at the same time. Before I left Adelaide I felt like I got to know quite a few of them.
The old man and his granddaughter:
They are coming every Thursday morning. The old man always orders two slices of banana bread with strawberry jam and a cappuccino and his granddaughter a hot chocolate. The grandpa lives just 5 minutes walk from our cafe. His granddaughter stays with her boyfriend in a different suburb but comes for a visit every week. He is retired now for quite a few years and is enjoying his rest. She is working in an office and thinking about settling down, getting married and having kids. They look really happy to meet once a week and talk about everything and nothing.
The cute old lady and her handmade toys:
This lady is probably our oldest regular customer. She is on a wheelchair and we always have to help her to get in and sit by the same table. Despite her age and limited mobility she is also one of our most smiling and active customers. She is not coming every week but at least once in a fortnight. She is coming alone but never staying alone for too long. Usually she sits by her favourite table, orders a coffee and a ball of chips or soup and starts talking to everyone around. The most excited she gets when she can start talking about her passion – producing homemade toys. They are made of wood, colourful beads, cotton etc. Probably her favourites are teddy bears. She always has a few with her to show them to anyone interested and explain how to make them.
The business man:
His name is John and he comes every single day for lunch. In contrast with the majority of regulars, he does not order the same thing every time. He likes to try everything we can offer and cook for him. He used to be a manager of Coles (Australian supermarket) 20 minutes far away until few months ago. Now, however, he is a manager for a Coles just one minute away from our cafe. He is slowly getting used to the new place and people. He also started making friends with other regulars of Oreo Cafe he meets every day during his lunch break
The group of old friends:
These four come almost every Thursday and Friday. Red head woman, her silent husband, chatty big man and blond skinny woman seem to be friends since forever. I have never asked how they met but sometimes they mention memories from childhood so they must know each other for ages. They drink a tea, big cappuccino, small cappuccino and late. I never have to ask who wants which one because it is always the same. I also bring two extra sugars as they always want. They have so much to tell each other each time despite they meet so often. Also there is a gossip going around that the red head is in love with the big man and that is why her husband always looks so grumpy. Who knows whether it is true or not. I will definitely never ask about this!
It has been really interesting to get to know all these people and others that were coming to the cafe. Until my waitress job I was mainly talking to people of my age at the university, few professors and the family I lived with. Now I have met the true locals of all kind. I know exactly what they drink and eat. I have listened to stories about their families, jobs and holidays. Although I have not met the majority of them outside of the Oreo Cafe it really feels like that we are friends.