Small World Coffee

What Makes a Worldling: Part 3 – Homecoming

By Jacqui | Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 10:39 am


This is the third installment in a series written by Small World’s seasoned veteran and lead trainer, Tuc… aka the Yoda of Small World.  We just celebrated Tuc’s 18th Small World Anniversary (with the awesome cake furnished by Jen from Brick Farm Market!) Below, Tuc shares more insightful thoughts on what it takes to be a ‘worldling’, and what that means to our cafe community and to our Princeton community.  Thanks, Tuc!

“This past October marked my 18th year with SWC. Most of that time has been spent as a trainer of fledgling baristas, though I have taken turns at maintenance, HR, and coffee roasting. In thinking about what has attracted me to this business the answer I return to is the community, both employees and customers, whom I have had the privilege to serve on a daily basis.

The sense of community I have experienced has been reinforced on three occasions this past month. The first two weekends the SWC community celebrated the weddings of two worldlings: On the sixth, Suzanne Cunningham, current co-curator of the SWC arts shows, who in the past spent considerable time in the kitchen of our Nassau St. location, and on the 14th Lucas Kelly, who has worked on and off at the cafes for the past 14 years when not at art school or currently teaching art. I found both weddings remarkable not only because of the wonderful people getting married, but also the amount of past and present worldlings attending as guests.

The sense of community at SWC was tested the last weekend as we all witnessed the unwelcome visitation of hurricane Sandy. While SWC had to close on Monday during the worst of the storm, Jessica and Vin worked on contingencies to get the cafe up and running as soon as possible on Tuesday. Many worldlings stepped up to help keep the cafe open despite having their own issues with storm damage, power loss, and tortuous commuting routes. They did this not because of the job, but because they wanted to be there, supporting the community in whatever capacity a coffee house could, even if it was just a small place of respite providing a strong cup of coffee, wifi, and a place to charge a cell phone.

There is a line in the poem ‘living in the open’ by Marge Piercy which sticks in my mind, and for all intents and purposes summarizes my experience at SWC, and that is the pursuit of, “a slow accretion of community.” When I think about all the regular customers I’ve interacted with, some of whom I have literally watched grow up, and the number of worldings I still interact with, years after working together, I think it is this yearning for community, a sense of belonging, that is the intangible factor contributing to being a worldling.”

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