Because my life is awesome, I work from home full-time. I spend my days in yoga pants and I have fresh-made lunches every day. (This morning, I realized I had been reading manuscripts out loud for who knows how long and inserting commentary as I read, but let’s not worry about that.) After polishing off the grilled cheese sandwich and soup I made for today’s lunch, I was flipping through a cookbook for a minute before I had to be back at my desk for the afternoon. Then, suddenly, our power went out. Our entire building’s power went out. A downside to teleworking is that you cannot do it without electricity. So I packed up my laptop and headed down the street to a local coffee shop. I really have been working, but I’ve also noticed a few things over the past couple of hours.
1. A fellow Wi-Fi moocher a couple of tables in front of me is so agitated it’s making ME nervous. His laptop is open in front of him, but he keeps looking out the window, then around the coffee shop, then out the window, then back to the coffee shop. He’s bouncing his knee up and down so vigorously that I can feel it through the base of my own table. Most disturbingly, he’s twisting a section of his hair around his finger with such force that he’s either going to end up with a single dreadlock at the crown of his head or a serious bald patch. Either he’s been here drinking coffee since 8 a.m. or his Ritalin prescription has recently run out.
2. The kind but overly chatty man (no, I don’t want to hear how you went to Belgium to have hip resurfacing surgery before it was FDA-approved here) at the table next to me keeps flipping through a two-inch thick pile of worn business cards and getting “You’ve Got Mail” notifications from the AOL account (yes, that says “AOL”) he has open on his laptop. Apparently he’s a vision from 1997.
3. Union protesters love their coffee. And their signs. I think there is as much space being taken up by protest signs in this shop as there is space being taken up by humans.
4. I do not possess adequate powers of concentration to work productively in a busy, crowded environment. (See items 1-3. And the fact that I’m writing this in the first place.)
5. A dude in a George Washington wig carrying a baby just came in. Tea Party or Union? It’s impossible to tell when he’s carrying a baby and not a sign. Perhaps there’s a lesson here: Deep down, we’re all just Americans with a jones for caffeine. And that’s a beautiful thing.