Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Coffee Shop Pariah

There are many pitfalls related to spending as much time at home as I do, but as a professional hermit I have found workarounds for them all.

One of the worst and most debilitating problems with working from home in addition to lurking there is that your work hours dissolve into your regular hours with no clear delineation between them. This typically results in nothing whatsoever getting done.

Office denizens pray and wish to be able to work from home, and should they finally be allowed to telecommute, the phrase “working from home” often comes with a wink that means “I’m not doing a damned thing”.

But the only way to make it work is to actually get up and do stuff. I rise from my animal skin pallet at seven AM on the days that I sleep in, and at 5:25AM on days when I am scheduled to be tortured by my coach in the cyclist training cave.

Casting my teddy bear and sleeping rifle aside, I eat breakfast, get dressed, and then type some aimless drivel into the internet by banging on a keyboard with my elbows and babbling incoherently in a sing-song voice into my dictation software, tilting my head side to side all the while.

Then I leave my apartment, get into my car, fire it up, and tear around the block at speeds in excess of 70MPH, screeching to a halt again in the same exact spot. Finally, I come back inside and plop down at my desk, for I am at work.

But sometimes the concentration that I pour into my working life can take its toll, and I need a break. Occasionally, I go into my living room and turn on my Xbox and television so that I can shoot internet enemies while listening to children prattle endlessly in cascading waves over voice chat. More often though, I grab whatever book I am reading and head to the coffee shop for some reading and people watching.

There is, after all, a much higher chance that a pretty girl will wander through a coffee shop than through the pixelated battlefields of Afghanistan.

So, yesterday I grabbed my book, a banana, my notebook and a pen and headed down to my favorite coffee shop. I always bring the notebook and pen in case I should have any ideas that I want to write down. As I write this it contains only a single drawing of a fish with plump female breasts.

Introducing... Tits the fish!

When I got there, all seemed as normal. Heavily tattooed barista cutie: check. Posters for bands, art shows, and art shows featuring bands: check. Array of white Mac power supplies fanning out of every outlet: check — but what’s this? A guy on a black PC laptop? Sir, have you no shame? Can you not see that your power supply is made of black plastic?

Shaking off my horror, I found a seat in the corner. Score! Rarely is the corner seat not occupied in this coffee shop. I treasured it warmly.

As I settled in, I was instantly glad I had worn a cap as it allowed me to hide in my prized corner seat from some musicians whom I knew but didn’t wish to speak to. One was wearing a wide-brimmed hat that looked like what Gandalf the Wizard would wear had he taken up folk singing.

I call this one Leave me alone, short people

These minor concerns I was able to shake off, and I got down to reading my book. In this case it was David Sedaris’s “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim”, and as is often the case with Sedaris, I began to laugh nearly immediately.

My laughs drew the ire of a nearby laptop pilot. She peered at me over her computer, her eyes glowing red as the apple on the laptop glowed white. I picked up my phone and fired off a derisive twitter update to show her how nonplussed I was, but when I went back to reading I only laughed harder.

I realized this wasn’t going to work. The atmosphere was making me even more susceptible to laughter than I usually am, and reading Sedaris there was a fool’s game.

So, I picked up my banana peel and my notebook containing Tits the Fish and walked away, stepping gingerly over the white power supplies.

A timid hipster approached me. “Do you mind if I grabbed your seat?” he asked.

I turned to look longingly at my corner home one last time.

“It’s not mine anymore.”

One thought on “Coffee Shop Pariah”

  1. Sidewalk Tomato

    I love David Sedaris, but have the same problem with people staring at me on public transport. However, somehow there are different standards of decorum on the bus. Compared to the people yacking loudly on the phone about their skin conditions or clipping their nails, I remain a Tender Goddess. (Have you read his book Naked? That might be my favorite of his.)

    For similar reasons I love P.G. Wodehouse’s Life With Jeeves, which has less poignancy than Sedaris and is simply straight-up humor. I re-read it every other year or so, once I’ve forgotten most of the lovely turns of phrase.