Despite having my desktop set up in my room as a “work space,” I often find myself slacking off while sitting there, projects that would have taken an hour eating up more and more time as I chat, surf, and start going through the stacks of tea cups and Diet Coke bottles that litter the “empty” half. There are some interesting things down there, including Important Papers, and then I’m distracted by them and work kind of….flitters away.
If you’ve been following me since my move in October, you’ve heard me talk about The Cafe That I Go To. As a former Starbucks barista, I’d been conditioned to go there, or any other chain coffee house, but then I found this one, and wow, does it feel comfortable. For one, none of the chairs really match. There are little pillows on them (and my feet are up on the table’s other chair, the pillow comfy under my bare, clean feet).
This is where people come to read a book or work on schoolwork. Being so close to Arizona State University at Tempe, there are always students leaning over tables highlighting photocopies or discussing group projects. But you’ll also find the professors in here with heaping stacks of essays to grade (or perhaps that’s just the TA?). There will be moms and children or just friends chatting. Yes, there are more MacBooks than anything else (and I feel like I’ve just been given a seat at the Big Kid’s Table with my “new” one).
The thing is, no one is really here for a quick cup of coffee. I don’t think most people even get coffee — tea is the norm. No, here, everyone is camped out, their tables littered with all they need, books to reference, empty cups from the last time they got a refill, newspapers, cell phones, notebooks. We’re here for the Long Haul, ensconced at our tables and connected to the very walls with power cords snaking to expanded outlets. There are board games and random old books you can borrow, decks of cards, even a dictionary.
Everything is lived in, comfortable and worn away at the edges, a place where you become a regular after your first visit.
I know the baristas here, as well as the woman who owns the place. And her sons. And grandson. And husband. It is one of those places were we’re all here to get things done, to belong and enjoy. Fridays, a jazz band plays. Saturdays, it’s game night.
And for some reason, whenever I come here and unload my bag, put my notebook and markers and tape on the table, open my laptop, get out my cell phone, plug in my headphones to listen to classic rock, I melt into the chair and everything becomes so open and easy, I may simply give up on living in my apartment and just stay here.
It is so rare, these days, to find a place that just flows with zen. There aren’t many ads. There’s art everywhere. No corporation breathing down your neck, just a family and a bunch of kids who are smart and kind and good at their jobs.
Makes me wonder why the rest of the world can’t be like this.
A few post-entry notes:
1. I have added a drop-down link up in the navigation bar to the entries posted to the newsletter. I figured it would be nice to have a little archive of the essays I write (mostly) weekly and send out, as I may soon expand it to being more often (an opt-in option, rest-assured).
2. I am currently Re-Aligning my website and have decided to do this in real-time. Which means you get to experience the changes as I make them. It may be fun. It may be difficult. But it's something I knew I was ready for (more on this tomorrow).