Here I was, another work-less Monday and dying to get out of the house to avoid the afternoon slump as hundreds of possible time-wasters stared me in the face. Starbucks was the logical choice since I recently acquired a stack of gift cards on my birthday. Plus, I’ve become a huge fan of one that’s under some magical spell: the baristas spell my name right every time and there’s always an open couch despite the droves of addicts that cycle in and out all day.
Snatching up a table in the back corner, I immediately feel at home. The cozy aroma of coffee beans mingling with leather couches oddly juxtaposes with the sight of businessmen anxiously pecking away on their keyboards. I open my laptop to join the frenzy–no new e-mails, the usual social media rundown, and my faithful visit to The Rabbit Room. Solomon was right: there’s nothing new under the sun. (I’m convinced caffeinated air makes me wax philosophical or at least pretend to be profound.)
Before closing my laptop and cracking open my book, I can’t help but wonder, what is it about coffee shop culture that’s so alluring? It’s honestly quite distracting. I can hardly concentrate on writing this when twenty different conversations clash and clang around me. Then it struck me. It’s because I’m surrounded by people who actually are working– conducting interviews, probably making progress on projects, having meetings. It’s a funny thing, feeling vicariously productive. I did end up reading a long chapter of the book I intend to finish this week. I was a friendly, responsible keeper of the cords– suited men intermittently handing me their plugs to be nestled in the outlet beside my enviable table.
It may be pathetic or funny that I find myself useful and content here for these reasons. But as vanilla iced coffee slips down my throat, I wonder if maybe, just maybe, that’s okay. Perhaps one day, I’ll be doing some important business instead of searching for new DIY projects and being a smug, amused spectator. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the small responsibilities and joys I do have. I hand someone’s cord back to them. They smile gratefully.