The Incredible Normalness of Giving

“Uh-oh,” says Mike from behind the counter. I am backstage thinking that I can’t really deal with any uh-ohs.

“Is that a bad uh-oh?” asks Emanuel, coming up to the counter as he waits for crepes.

“There’s a crack in the french press,” says Mike.

Our coffee is made in the french press because we think it makes a better cup of coffee. We have two of them and it takes 4 min per pot so coffee is actually laborious compared to most everything else we make. And now we only have one pot. I had been thinking that what we need are some two-liter french presses so that we can make a whole thermos at once and not two cups at at a time, but the small capital purchases have to wait till after the liquor license. Till after the liquor license makes money, that is.

So I’m standing at the back of the cafe as this happens, and haven’t quite processed whether or not bawling my eyes out will fix this particular problem, and I don’t much feel like crying cause it’s crepes day and the neighbours are all out, when Emanuel says, “Don’t we have a bodum sitting around at home? We’ll bring it over.” And voila! Problem solved.

Things keep happening, and I keep thinking that somehow it will all work out, and somehow it does. And it’s becoming normal, the incredible givingness of this neighbourhood and how people just keep pitching in.

“You need cushions for these stools,” says June, “I’ll make you some.”

“I’ll donate some pies to raise money for the liquor license,” says Cindy, and a bake-sale fundraiser is born.

On and on. And it’s these little investments that make the cafe theirs, that make it not exactly a business. And I worry that I will someday take it for granted, all this giving and helping.

And then I think, wouldn’t that be incredible if we could take giving and helping for granted? What would that say about our world?


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