The whole experience was very much a Vermont DMV experience.
I suppose the quirks about each state's culture come out in a place like the DMV,
but if not, at least my experience today was.
I got off work early today,
I was working until 1a last night.
We had a work trip to visit some coffee people/places in Portland, Maine.
So I got in late last night and had to be up and roasting relatively early this morning
(while all my other co-tripers were sleeping soundly in their beds).
We had a lighter roasting day
and my wonderful Production Team members let me take off early.
I wanted to go home and sleep
but I had to go register our vehicle.
[Entirely a side note: The hours of the Vermont DMV are unbelievable.
They are open Monday 8:45a-3p
and every other Wednesday.
Needless to say it's taken me a few weeks to get my vehicle registered.]
But when I got there at 2p
there was a line out the door.
The parking lot was full.
I put my name on the list -
that's how you do it here;
No taking numbers with monitor screens showing who's next (Minnesota).
Some one is just hollering your name in a small crowded room (Vermont).
The DMV was in the basement of a building for another government department.
The walls were made of cinderblocks.
AC was on.
I went outside to get fresh air.
There was a woman who was outside too.
She had gray hair, long and wavy, loosely pulled up and pinned.
She had kind of an old-timey dress on.
She wore glasses.
She sat on a cement landscaping wall and read a book.
She made me smile because she would kind of laugh to herself as she read.
She'd cover her mouth with her hand.
The setting was very Vermont too;
lush green hills/mountains in the background.
Old rusty trucks and shiny expensive foreign vehicles in the foreground.
It had the quiet sound of the woods - there was no city noise.
It was sunny with rain clouds moving through, sprinkling on and off.
It started to rain and I moved to get under the awning.
The woman was getting wet, but didn't mind.
This was Vermont.
I think I said something then.
I don't remember what it was.
The next person who pulled in and was coming up to the door gave us a funny look when the woman said,
"We're the DMV welcoming committee!"
At this, I laughed, and opened the door for the new visitor with a courteous hand gesture.
The woman outside, whose name I found out was Catherine, started talking about the weather.
Being Minnesotan, I am an expert BS-er on weather.
The weather is literally all we talk about.
From a funeral to an election day,
with a stranger or your dying relative:
so Catherine and I had no difficulties chatting.
As true with all conversations that happen with adults,
eventually she asked me what I do for a living.
I told her I roast coffee.
She stuttered something about it "only being the greatest job in the world."
She told me that she has been mixing tea for a few years
and is now selling her mixes at a few co-ops and general stores.
She told me all about what herbs she uses,
why she uses them,
how she grows them,
and what I should try.
Oh the world of drinks!
I really enjoyed meeting Catherine.
She was a bright spot in a day that had been grey up until that point.
And this is what I love about coffee.
I love how tangible drinks are.
I love how they are so concrete.
And I love how I can understand what she is saying about her work and passion
with the only context being that I've tasted things before.
Carpentry, wilderness therapy, academia.
These fields do not share that with coffee.
Another friendship made possible by the power of COFFEE! (and tea).