While using WiFi at a public place
While working at home certainly has its perks (familiar bathroom, free sandwiches), I prefer to hole up in a coffee shop during working hours. I need judgmental eyes on me in order to complete my work. Feeling someone glare at me while thinking, “Bitch! Get off of Facebook and finish your work. I need your outlet, greedy asshole,” is my version of having a boss. But working in a coffee shop isn’t a cakewalk. Every time I have to use the bathroom, I struggle to leave my stuff unattended. “Just running to the bathroom, don’t mind me while I leave my MacBook, my BlackBerry, my wallet, and my entire livelihood here at this table! Totally unattended!” You don’t want to ask someone to watch your stuff for you, because it makes you appear unreasonable and unaware of the Coffee Shop Golden Rule (which is, don’t steal people’s shit while they’re in the bathroom). Alas, nature calls and you can either trust your fellow patrons, or pack up all of your belongings every time you need to use the phone, go to the bathroom, or refill your iced coffee.
When taking a cab
Beyond trusting that your cab driver knows where he’s going and isn’t ripping you off, you have to actually trust that this person is indeed, a cab driver. I sound like a Paranoid Polly, but my mom was actually kidnapped by a fake cab driver when she was my age. All you need is a Crown Victoria and a smile – boom. Cab driver. It’s also entirely possible that your cab driver is intoxicated or otherwise “under the influence.” Think about it – under any other circumstance, you’d probably be acutely aware of the risk in accepting a ride from a stranger. We don’t just trust cab drivers, we pay them to put our lives in their hands – “Here’s ten bucks in exchange for you making sure I make it to my destination alive, hehe!” Seems risky, but necessary.
When someone else makes your coffee
I’m really not a coffee snob. My favorite coffee used to be that machine-made “cappuccino” powder crap that you find at Mobil On-the-Run. But I don’t process milk all that well these days, and I don’t trust machines anymore. Instead, I have to trust that my drinks are made with soy. I also need decaf on occasion – otherwise, my pulse starts racing and I have to stop whatever I’m doing to pen a quick Microsoft Word explanation to the barista – “Heart. Beating out of chest. Can’t breathe. Needed decaf, you fu—“ Hopefully, I complete that sentence before I keel over on my keyboard and die at The West Café. Trusting that someone will bring you the right order when you have food allergies is major. If your barista respects your order on a regular basis, you should probably propose right then and there. That’s love.
When you must give someone your email password
I was at a bar one night when my phone started rapid fire emailing people. Seemingly out of nowhere, my phone had contracted a Viagra spam virus. I’d delete one “sent mail” notification, and forty more would pop up. It was like my phone had just snorted its last line of coke. “I know it’s 3 AM and no one is answering my phone calls, but I’m just going to email everyone in this address book, just to see if any of these people have a connect. If no one answers, then we call it a night. One of these people has to have a connect, though. Do you have an extra cigarette?” I was faced with an interesting problem – who do you call to change your password under these circumstances? I was already out with my roommate, who would’ve been an ideal prospect. We settled on the person that she would’ve trusted to change her password (since my emergency contacts were unreachable for a variety of reasons). The anxiety caused by someone, no matter how trustworthy, having control over my inbox was crippling. Is she reading my G-Chats? My bank statements? Embarrassing emails I’d sent to guys who’d vanished into the ether? In the end, I either had to submit to sending my grandparents Viagra coupons every ten minutes, or give someone my email password. I chose the latter.
When drinking alone at the bar
When drinking alone at a bar, whether it’s the beginning, middle, or end of a night – you need the bartender on your side. Their tasks as your one and only confidant can be trivial (watching your barstool) or life saving (watching your drink). You need the bartender to hold you down as you drunkenly wander outside to smoke a cig. You need them to keep the secrets you spill when you’re belligerent. You need them to care that you’re about to leave your favorite jacket behind when it’s snowing outside. Do not piss them off. Tip them well. If you have to forget everything you know when you’re wasted, forget your name or the words to a song – but always remember that a bartender can be your best friend or your worst enemy. We don’t trust our worst enemies with our drinks, do we?