It’s May, and in the forefront of my mind sits my manuscript, which I promised myself, I will finish this year, once and for all, no excuses. I’ve been on a good course over the past few months– motivated and dedicated– but still, I remain challenged in dividing my time between writing and all the rest of it… the laundry, the cleaning, socializing, exercising. But I know, I’ve gotta just work with it.
So this past Sunday, instead of sitting in my apartment trying to write, where I would inevitably be distracted by my breakfast dishes or the week’s stack of unopened mail, I decided go to the coffee shop down the street, where I could really focus. It’s a coffee shop out of the movies– think: brick walls, dim lighting, vintage-style light fixtures, mismatched chairs, indie rock playing in the background and a hip, tattooed duo behind the counter. On any given day, it’s packed with creative types, each one of their heads buried in some artistic endeavor. The perfect place, to work, right?
Wrong. Unless that is, you’re truly gifted at focusing.
I am not.
So there I am, coffee in hand– a good cup of French press Stumptown… yum. I find a seat at an unoccupied table next to the front window, but upon sitting, I realize the chair is too low and dammit, I forgot my phone book. Fine. So I move to an empty stool at the high communal table, noticing a better seat-height-table-height relationship. This will work. Good. Ready to write. But… when I sit down, I’m wobbling. Awesome. The floorboards underneath me are uneven. Ok, whatever, I can deal. I reposition my seat and in another minute everything’s cool.
Except…to my left, two girls are having a very loud conversation. Ordinarily, I’d say this was a problem, but… this time, I was kinda fine with it because 1) they were Aussies, and I, wishing that I possessed an accent other than my boring old American one, am particularly fond of the Australian accent, regardless of whether it’s belonging to a man or woman, and could just sit and listen to it all day long; and 2) the topic: relationships, and being in such close proximity to them, I didn’t have to try very hard to listen in on what was some super juicy gossip. Never mind that they were talking about people I don’t know.
Finally, they leave. Great. I can get back to work.
I just wasn’t really thinking when I chose a seat right next to the backside of the espresso machine at the counter. Not a good idea, what with the grinding and piping and steaming of the machine and the barista banging the grounds out of the filter. Every time I so much as looked at the blank page in front of me, I was jolted by some bang bang, ssshhhh weeeesssssh. Oy!
And then, as if i needed anything else to get in the way of my concentration, I haaaaad to notice the cute guy who just sat down across the room from me who was 1) way easy on the eyes and 2) writing sheet music. Uh huh… melt my heart.
So after three hours… two coffees… and all the excitement…I managed a measly page-and-a-half. Not so good. Now I have to ask myself: Is the coffee shop really the way to go?
Probably not. But will I be able to stay away?
Uh, yeah, I don’t think so.