Felt like moving this from my journal to the interwebs. Don't be scared. Okay, be a little scared.
Coffee Shop Liberation
written October 21, 2010
They are playing Cat Power in this coffee shop. Or this cafe, whatever. The table I chose—because the sun was streaming through the window on it—is too bright for me to open my laptop. Irony, perhaps. I probably should be using my computer to apply for those jobs I don’t really want. I probably should be organizing my finances that don’t really exist.
I could probably just move to a different table.
A couple tables away there is this boy, I mean, a man, reading a book. He has been here even longer than me, and I have been here long enough. Long enough to read almost an entire New Yorker, for the sun to move across the sky (and across my table), and long enough for my tea to go from smoking hot to nothing.
When I got here, and stepped in line, I saw that man who is now sitting near me, reading. (What IS he reading?) He looked at me and blinked, harshly, like my face stung him. It was so intense, I had the crazy notion to apologize. For my face.
I have been here long enough to write three letters, and to realize maybe that’s a strange thing to do, write correspondence at a coffee shop. Everyone has computers in front of them, but what are they really doing? I am writing in a journal, and that cannot be hidden. Nor could I hide sealing, and stamping, envelopes, at this table with the sun glaring on my face, exposing my every ill-placed hair, every line, every freckle.
Earlier, a man at the table next to me was making one phone call after another, talking loudly in Spanish, completely oblivious of everyone around him. He was so oblivious, in fact, that the barista had yelled out that his hot cider was ready so many times, she was about to give it away for free to someone else. Finally, she spotted him, and brought it over to the table. He barely hesitated in his conversation, nodded at the woman, and kept talking. I found him to be completely obnoxious. But I envied him, in a way. It must be nice, being so unaware of the people around you. At least three times, he started a new phone conversation with, "Hola, mi amor." Was he calling the same woman over and over? Was he a pimp? I hoped he had unlimited daytime minutes.
WHY am I so worried about what everyone else thinks? Every day I fret about all these different things, and it is so silly and infuriating. From strangers to my family, I worry what they think. My mother never gave a damn what anyone else thought. That used to infuriate me. Now I am jealous. I worry how to order my tea. I worry about what my grandma thinks about my move back to Chicago. I worry about reading my New Yorkers in public when I should be on my computer.
I worry, I worry.
So, to get over myself, I am sitting in the sunniest fucking spot in this coffee shop, doing exactly what I want to be doing. It is liberating. Even though, quite possibly, no one else in the world, and more specifically, this coffee shop, notices or cares.