Michael Gates Gill – How Starbucks Saved My Life: The Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else - Paperback - $11.05. I was not feeling this book for a few pages. I would read a page or two, go back, and read a few more pages and then forgot about it. I brought it because of the title and thought it was funny and would be a funny read. Didn’t know it would resonate with my life. No ideal it would!
I’m not white, male and upper-class. Not even close to upper or middle class. I’m just a beautiful, intelligent, gracious, fun loving, sociable, outgoing, gregarious (“I think I’m missing some other adjectives?”), “as a matter of fact, a few years ago, I taught these two white guys who I hired as a joke, to call me all of those adjectives when I would come into their presence.” Even to do this day, years later, they still do, but now they have added, “Crazy lady” at the end. Love those funny white guys, they were and are still cool.
As I was stating, I’m an African American working woman who has tried and still trying to stay Christian, hopeful and happy. It's not easy and I have fallen many times, but when I returned to reading this book, it started to reminded me how low I went.
No matter the color, religion, or whatever. When you are nose diving to the ground, you feel dejected, unhappy, and very discouraged. You don’t want a cure-all-drug, because you know, if you are smart, that it’s temporary. You want your “mojo” back. There’s even a book called, “MOJO: HOW TO GET IT, HOW TO KEEP IT, HOW TO GET IT BACK IF YOU LOSE IT” by Marshall Goldsmith - $12.99. What a laugh! I don’t think that will work either, it may help a bit. Gates book drew me back to a time just two years ago, that I felt, “what the hell am I living for.” “Why bother going on.” No one gives a damn and no one cares. Maybe I’ll be better offering leaving this earth and leaving something better for my kid. No, I’m not kidding, that’s how much this book affected me and that’s how I felt long time ago. Like a piece of crap. I got my “mojo” back by writing this blog and keeping my faith up. When I finished reading, It was a prayer, if you would, of a reminder to me over and over again and every day, that life is great and worth fighting for.After losing his job, his wife and his baby mama mistress, 60 year old White guy Mike found himself sitting in Starbucks in his brooks brothers suit and asking, wondering and saying over and over again, why me? His life in corporate America, luxurious home with the perfect wife and kids and a six figure salary, was gone. He was told he is too old and not “in.” So the company laid him off. Sounds familiar?
While in Starbucks, reeling with gloom, Crystal, a young and vibrant African American woman, asked, “Would you be willing to work for me?” It was a job fair at Starbucks that day and Crystal just came up and asked him if he needed a job. She was there looking for people to hire for her own store. I don’t know what you or I would do, Mike said, “could she see that I was really one of life’s losers want a job at Starbucks”, “yes”, he said.
Mike has worked on some of the most famous advertisements in the world. Met some famous authors, such as Ernest Hemingway and is the son of Brendan Gill, a famous New Yorker writer, but he has never worked in a “retail” outfit. Become frightened to use a cash register. Over the next months, he meets with other young African Americans who work there and learned not only how his prejudgment of people, especially minorities was askew and completely wrong, but how real people live day to day. He learned to cleaned bathrooms (I hate that even at home); learn how to make variety of coffees, received quality medical insurance, which was almost a good as the company he use to work for. He feels old and tired each day trying to catch the subway(s) on time, getting to work on time, putting out trash, cleaning bathrooms, becoming a Batista, running a cash register and becoming a customer service representative. It’s a hard struggle, but each and every month, it becomes easier with a bit of prayers and faith. I know how he felt, I lived it.
He learned to asked for and accept forgiveness from his family. Became a better father to his youngest son. Build up his confidence, which was hard being surrounded by young, African American kids, who, I am happy to say, was not what is always displayed on TV and movies. Crystal, Tawana, Joann, and my favorite, Kester are written with intelligence, and great entrepreneur spirits. The kind of African American kids you want to read about. Mike says, “Crystal and Starbucks had saved me. Saved me from my pursuit of empty symbols, but also my anxiety about a fear-filled superficial life that hadn’t been, in the end, helpful or even enjoyable for me.”
I felt that way a few years ago. I was broke, depressed, lonely and tired. Felt old and saw more and younger "valley girls" women enter the place where I worked. How else am I to feel? My kid was graduating and I was pushing and moving money around to just pay the last four months of her tuition without getting another student loan. I was broke beyond broke and could not even get a part time job at McDonald’s. Come on, McDonald’s would not hire me? I thought, shit, they want young people too!!! Then my friend from out of town took me to dinner and I just let it all out. Didn't cry, I didn't have any more tears, just let every damn shitty thing out. She listened and said nothing. Then she offered to give me some money to tie me over. I told her no. I already owed bills, never wanted to owe a friend. It screws up the friendship and I didn't care if she said it's OK, you don't have to pay it back, but I did care.
We finished dinner and, I’m was still feeling pretty low, we stop at a store for coffee. I don't know, I went in there and smiled and asked for a small cup of coffee. I only had about 2 dollars on me and thinking what the hell am I going to do about gas for the car and lunch. Eat what's in the house dummy!! The guy took my order and I thought, I got nothing to lose, so I asked if there were any part time job openings. He asked me to wait and the manager came out and gave me an application. I sat there and filled it out and told her that I have a job and only wanted to work weekends. I figure that plug would help, even though I used that line many times, it didn't work before. She took my application and said she would call soon. “No she won't.” I figure, hey, I tried and will try again. I'm just at my end and no corner to turn around. The next day, she called. I got the job. It was so hard the first three weeks working 7 days days a week and getting home 9 or 10 at night, but as time gradually move forward, I leaned I too am not young, but not really old either. The bones may creak a little. I can’t stay up pay 11pm all of the time, but I got me. I got me back.
That’s why this book resonates with me so much. I was there in that black and very dark pit. I climbed out as Mike did working with people half my age and struggling with heavy equipment, long hours, sometimes rude customers and coming home tired and crying. Wondering how I was going to make it. It got better and so did this book.
Now two years later, I’m still working at the coffee shop, but now my regular job is going thru some very tough times and I’m back in that pit. This time though, ““Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV).
My MOJO is my GOD
Got to get one in for Black History Year
AISHA WASHINGTON - SOUL FOOD SISTERHOOD - $FREE - - The Soul Food Cafe is more than just a family business for the Jefferson's, it's a place where hearts are mended, love is found, and lives are changed forever. So follow the Jefferson girls as they try to navigate the choppy waters of the Atlanta dating scene.
KIMBERLA LAWSON ROBY - A HOUSE DIVIDED - FREE PREVIEW (THE FIRST 7 CHAPTERS) A REVEREND CURTIS BLACK NOVEL - $FREE - - - For our Reverend Curtis fan, get a big taste - - - Life is close to perfect for the Reverend Curtis Black and his wife, Charlotte--except their son Matthew and his girlfriend, Racquel, are about to become parents at the tender age of eighteen. Even though Curtis and Charlotte wish Matthew could focus on Harvard instead of fatherhood, they are determined to welcome their new grandson with open arms. But for Charlotte, welcoming her future in-laws is another story. Try as she might, Charlotte can't stand Racquel's mother, Vanessa--and the feeling appears to be mutual.
When the tension between Charlotte and Vanessa finally erupts, the stress sends an already-fragile Racquel into early labor. Everyone is quick to blame Charlotte, including Matthew and Curtis. That her own husband would side with someone else infuriates Charlotte and strains the relationship they've only recently been able to repair. Her one ally is Racquel's father, but that brings problems of its own.
While Charlotte schemes against Vanessa, Curtis is consumed with his own concerns about Deliverance Outreach. A mysterious figure from his past has been sending Curtis cryptic messages threatening to take away Curtis's coveted position as senior pastor and destroy everything he has worked so hard for. But who could hate Curtis that much? And how can he fight an enemy he can't even name?
Times of trouble are descending upon the Black family in more ways than one. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and stand together against someone who could take it all away? Or is the Black family finally out of miracles?