Our space has always been about the people more than anything; because coffee, cookies, and cakes are made to be consumed; and then people get to have a “respite.” Our social media feed will never be “curated;” because the people who come in and pass by, are not (or we just don’t know how to make it “look good,” help?); plus, we almost never post our customers because privacy–again “respite.”
From the grumpy man outside, who keeps hating our customers, in turn driving them away (what’s wrong with you?); to the laundry guy, our nice neighbor; the pensive lady, who supplies our soap (respite’s one rule, always wash your hands until there’s no more skin); the tall caretaker, who is all smiles and kind to us; the two delivery men, “yung mukhang adik” (they’re actually nice people); and the nosy ladies, who keeps blocking our stairway making sure nobody comes in (we just let them be); all is well.
And for those who do come in… “Ate I’m not going to buy anything. I don’t have money.” (Okay high school students, you are excused; have a seat, here’s water, free tea–not always like this though). The regular tambays, we call them “patrons,” they get discounts for no reason (yes, sometimes they buy lots of things naman). Our kind neighbors upstairs, who shared their space with us, then buys everything we have (cheers!).
Our loyal customers, from our previous location (thank you, for literally just passing by to say “hello”). Meridian–school–kids, who would talk about how they understand the world works (we miss you). Parents, who bugs their grown up “child” everyday (come on, “leave those kids alone”). Random unpaid “starving artist,” who got curious with our shop (we have delicious water, sometimes free coffee–we really need sponsors).
“Freelancers,” who would rant about the “corporate” world, but have never worked for one (we will rant with you). Seminarians, who quotes the best scholars, just to show you they “read good stuff” (we like reading too). Evangelicals, Born Agains, and the like, who tries to convert you because that is what they live for (we listen). Beach bums, who got lost in the city (some of the “nicest” people we met). “Lost souls” (aren’t we all?). And finally… Paying customers, who make up a fraction of our crowd (we hope, you are many).
This is who we are, respite–a community.