Thursday, August 02, 2007

Counter Spin

I've been putting in more hours at Cowgirl. It is another busy summer, full of visitors who want to see the sites and eat some fine cheese. The Ferry Building where Cowgirl is located has become quite the destination for folks visiting the city. It is in a prime location at the foot of Market Street, projecting into San Francisco Bay. Most of the building is supported by pylons, so the building is part of a large pier with water underneath it. Ferries still dock behind the building, taking people to Vallejo, Alameda, Oakland, Sausalito, as well as Larkspur.

We see plenty of ferry commuters as well as ferry employees, grabbing some cheese before they set sail across the bay. The rush usually begins around 4:30. Every day a few patrons will come up to the counter looking anxious. They will fidget and step from foot to foot waiting impatiently for their turn. When their number is called (Cowgirl has a take-a-number system,) patrons will ask us to please hurry because they only have five minutes before departure. We try to be quick, but it can be a challenge when the patron wants a bunch of cheese and doesn't know what they want. Fridays are full of commuters picking up cheese for parties on the ferries. The commuters become friends with others on the boats so they'll pick up some beer, wine, cheese and bread, take it on board the boats and have a party while dashing across the waves to Marin County. It is a great way to commute. I used to do it. But I never got to cozy with my fellow commuters. I usually took a nap.

I was working behind the counter last Thursday when Peggy Smith, one of the owners came dashing in. She was all smiles and happy to see me. "I didn't know you're back! I thought you were off somewhere making cheese," she declared.

"I am and I was," I replied. "Now I’m making an occasional guest appearance behind the counter." She was in the shop in order to do a special tasting with an esteemed visitor who was touring the Ferry Building. The new Secretary of the United Nations stopped by to try our cheese. He was accompanied by throngs of photographers, city officials and secret service security officials. It was quite exciting. Strobe lights from the newscameras made me feel like I was center stage at a movie premier. All business stopped while Ban Ki-Moon toured the place. He was very polite, trying our cheese and asking questions. Peggy explained a bit about what we do, where we make cheese and what we sell. The unsuspecting family that I was waiting on were blown away when I told them who was standing next to them. And in five minutes he was gone. Off to some other meeting, I suppose. It was almost as good as when Martha Stewart stopped by the shop.

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