Café Cliché

Hello, friends. For the past 2 weeks, I have resumed working in a coffee shop. I do the morning routine, shedding kids along the way, and turn up at my favourite old-new café (it moved). I order a drink, admire the pastries, say hello to the regulars, and sit down with my battered, cracked old laptop and time-travel to Victorian London. It’s excellent. In fact, it’s my favourite way to work. While I spent quite a long time trying to persuade myself that I could work just as effectively from home, I think it’s time to concede the truth: CoffeEco, you are the answer.

I love coffee shops because they create a focused window in which to work. I don’t idle all day, holding meetings and checking Facebook. I’m there for about 90 minutes, max, and in that time I give all my attention to my work-in-progress. I don’t worry about laundry piling up, what to make for dinner, or all the unread email clogging my inbox. When my time is up, I pack up and move on. I’ll write again after lunch, but that first 90 minutes sets the tone for the rest of my day. If I’m disciplined and productive in that first writing session, my whole day goes better. Conversely, if I use that time to run errands and do admin, I never seem to catch up in a satisfactory way.

So far, I sound like a smug little model of efficiency, don’t I? Ha. Confession time.

I also adore working in coffee shops because of all the conversations buzzing around me. I don’t participate (I’m busy staring at my screen, right?) but rest assured, I am most certainly “earwigging”, as my mother-in-law calls it. (Isn’t that a great word?) It’s a great way to check in with the rest of the world. It’s also interesting to observe how consistent certain types of conversations can be. For example, in the last five interactions I’ve heard between youngish men and youngish women, the men have spent most of the conversation talking about themselves. At length. While the women nod along enthusiastically and says things like, “That’s amazing!” Now, I have nothing against talking about oneself as part of a balanced conversation; after all, it’s what I do in this space, every Wednesday. But this is something I’m going to keep an eye on

I’ve also noticed that when people ask mothers of young children how they’re doing, they always say something like, “Oh, we’re great. Zoe’s in soccer camp and Carson’s just cut his first tooth!” Did you catch that? The mother IS her children; the spouse is missing. I am 100% guilty of this, by the way, and from now on I’m going to make a point of including every member of the family in my response.

And that’s where I’m at today. Are you an earwigger, too? What patterns have you noticed, in recent conversations around you?

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2 Responses to “Café Cliché”

  1. MelodyJ says:

    Once I was in Chck-fil-a for breakfast. A man at a nearby table was talking to a couple that was at another table. He told them that the breakfast burrito was good. Then a while later he loudly said that his brother left his wife for another man. You can hear some interesting conversations when you are out and about.

  2. Ying says:

    Glad I’m not the only earwigger around, Melody!

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