I am an opener at an espresso bar at a PCC grocery store. Work starts at 5 AM - hours before the sun rises in December. I grumpily get on my bike and cuss at the larger puddles which fly up my rear tire onto my back. My first few interactions of the day are with the night crew who do the stocking and bake the pastries and scones for the daytime. It's towards the end of their shift and they're still experiencing yesterday.
The first few hours of being awake are dreamlike. No one has any energy and the sun is still far away. There aren't many customers, but those who are there are only so in body. I fill many drip containers with coffee, measure out my grind, clean all my containers, help those who didn't sleep much, and make myself an americano.
Most of the customers I get at this hour are regulars. I only know the names of a few of them, but I see most of them everyday. Some I hypothesize are homeless, some work construction, a number of them are yogis, some would really rather not talk to me, a handful are students, and others teachers. I ask most customers how their day is treating them thus far. Based on their response I know whether they want me to shut up or if they care to talk. Other customers I have ongoing conversations with - in spurts of 3 minutes a day.
Depending on the day I've either drank way too much coffee or not enough by 7 AM, when the world gives signs of ever becoming bright again. I call my home in Massachusetts at this hour a lot of days, where the morning is in mid swing. Once I get back to the espresso bar, the bulk of students and workers come and it becomes 11 AM as fast as time passes when asleep.
The momentum of the morning coffee rush tempers down a bit and I attempt to recover the condition of the espresso bar before I have to clock out at 1:30 and begin my second life during the daytime. I do all the things other people might otherwise do in the morning or late at night while the night crew is getting ready to wake up and start their shift. All is ok as long as I can sleep early enough to wake up at 4.