Usually I write at home. Work all day, come home, wife leaves for work, I feed the baby and self, and get baby to bed. I have a couple hours each night to write. Weekends I need to go somewhere. I hate sitting inside all day (I work outdoors) and unless I go out, get fresh air, move, I never feel really awake. Staying inside all day to write doesn’t happen – my eyes are heavy, my head a just-woken-up fog, All Day, even with half a gallon of coffee. I watch TV and nap instead of writing and then wife leaves for work in the afternoon and I’m on Baby Duty.
I need somewhere to go on the weekends.
I walked to the library on Saturday. Library doesn’t open till noon on the weekends. Walked 20 minutes back the other way. It’s 8:05 and Starbucks just opened and there isn’t a table to sit at. I’m standing in the front door and people in line turn to look at me, and I recede back out the door. There’s a super-market around the corner with a coffee shop; I’d hate myself sitting there.
Walk back home, get the car. 10 minutes away is a non-chain coffee shop I’ve never been to. Park the car, walk inside. I’m standing in the front door: cheap yellow-wood chairs, small tables, a handful of people in a group I’m judging pretty hard, golf shirts with business-professional judging-me faces. I recede back out the door.
There’s a Starbucks. There’s a Crimson Cup coffee-chain modeled after Ohio State Football fanfare. A Chocolate Cafe that’s always full of suburban-fancy women gossiping chocolate lattes and/or chocolate martinis. Kafe Kerouac doesn’t open till noon; not enough time before I go Baby Duty.
I miss my old coffee house, The Short North Cafe (Columbus, Ohio), when we lived downtown. It was center-focal of the arts district, the university district, and Rut-Ville (crime-city). It was open 24 hours. I’d go at three in the morning, or at noon, or whenever because it was Always Open. Students studying, poetry slams, local art on the walls, they’d put Pink Floyd on the speakers, always people smoking outside, homeless folks, vagabonds, drunks, kids playing WOW, folks scribbling secretively. The shop was one big room with a high bare-pipe ceiling and lots of giant tables. I don’t remember the coffee. But the tables! I’d have room for four all to myself, big table towards the back and cold open spacious air for thoughts to swell and come down to the page and everyone else busy working or talking, self-conscious because they were on drugs last night or just fundamentally non-judgemental because they too were odd or beautiful in that sort of way. And then, go out for a smoke and hear someone argue Civil Rights wouldn’t have happened without Camus…
But, I’m confined to my bedroom (office-ish, with a desk). It’s 30 degrees out so I opened all the windows and drank a 24oz RedBull.