Once upon a time I wondered what people were actually doing inside of a Starbucks with their coffee and laptops. They were of all ages, genders and cultures plugged in to their laptops, sometimes with headphones, sometimes alone, sometimes with a partner. In my naive and innocent years, the one thing that I did notice when standing in line for my latte, was that they all seemed busy. Most of them, anyway,
Now that I am a writer, I get it. Many writers get out of their own writing space at their home for a touch of the real world. As a writer, I even do this for myself about once a week. Rarely is it uneventful, whether I want it to be or not. I say, whether I want it to be or not, my little secret is, I crave the distractions at times. When I don't need to be distracted or if it becomes too annoying, I always have my own set of headphones to put on in order to have the golden sound of silence.
After doing this for a number of months now, I even have nicknamed some of the characters that come in to work where I have set up my own space. They probably have nicknamed me also, and that is fine with me. It is all a part of working in a social place, such as Starbucks.
As a writer, we are very lucky in that we can write almost anywhere. It can be in a plane, on a train, at a bus stop, in our home, on the beach, or in a coffee shop, such as Starbucks. There are those who prefer 'local' coffee shops vs the chain brand, which is all good, unless you are in need of Wi-Fi and 'locals' sometimes don't have it. So writers tend to pick the most comfortable place for themselves that meet all of their needs.
With that being said, let's talk about etiquette while you are inside someone's establishment. Remember, you do not own it. Be comfortable without taking up too much space. A courteous attitude toward the baristas is very helpful. If you are taking up space, using their Wi-Fi, it would also make them happy if you purchased more than one cup of coffee, even if it was a bottle of water or a muffin. Just common courtesy, really. I have witnessed for myself someone who came in, asked for an empty cup just to go to the water fountain to fill it up several times. I am not sure how much longer this person stayed once I left, but that is just rude. To never purchase just one item? If they were a starving freelance writer, they could have at least brought a cup from their home.
There are other ways that rudeness raises its ugly head. Perhaps it is due to the caffeine-junkies all around or the coffee-infused aromas drifting in the air. There are those who come in and put on headphones to carry on a telephone conversation with someone (or perhaps it is a made up person?) about what they are writing in a voice that carries throughout the whole coffee shop. They are so full of themselves and so high on their own self importance that I must restrain myself from going over to their laptop and pulling the cord from the wall and the headphones off their ears. Then again, sanity sets in and I realize it is not worth getting arrested over and going to jail. In fact, it can be a humorous distraction. These 'good ole boys' are drinking their coffee (not their whiskey and rye) and I really don't know if they are singin' this'll be the day that I die or not. I only know that there are times I am a' wishin' it for them.
Maybe a person behind me really was on a call with someone where he was explaining how he had the program developed to improve the FireStick and Amazon Echo, as well as some other high tech devices. If this were true, then everyone else in the shop would be able to go with his ideas, because he was loudly explaining how it would all work. I have nicknamed him (and others like him) Mr. Self-Importance. He needs the world to know just how important he is. I always have believed that if you must tell others how important that you are than you probably are about as important as one tiny grain of sand.
There are also some writers, that I have tagged "The Eager Beavers" who come in, set up, get coffee and all of a sudden their fingers are typing as if they were on fire. I always laugh to myself just thinking what could their brains be producing at that speed for their fingers to be typing that quickly? Will it be worth the paper that it will be printed on? I am rather doubting it. Then again, all the world is not a critic!
Ms. Pretentious is also a frequent writer who comes in to work. She is one that is quite amusing to watch. She smugly looks off into space, as if she has such deep thoughts whirling around in her head, much too deep for some of us in the shop to even try to pretend to understand. Then, every once in a while, one eyebrow will raise and her fingers head to her keyboard and she types what might be a sentence. One thought at a time. The wheels on her bus might not go all the way around, it is just that she wants everyone to think that they do.
This is not the only kind of arrogance that you can witness first hand. Let me ask you to think if you would want to be interviewed for a job in a Starbucks with every table around you hearing the questions and answers. Also, what kind of job could this be? If there is no particular office space, I suppose this is a safer environment than at a home to carry on an interview. From what I have overheard, and let me say that I am not eavesdropping, most seem to be jobs that you can work from your home. The volume of these strangers is loud enough for anyone to hear, and that is even with the barista using the blenders, the whirrers, and the frothers. Add in the loudly piped Spotify music playing. Truly not a conducive place to work effectively if you suffer from ADD.
One particular Starbucks that I visit has a small lounge area, with deep comfy sofas and chairs, along with a coffee table and end tables. If I get there early enough on a day where these obviously retired gentlemen can't play golf due to bad weather, they are all seated around carrying on multiple conversations. Some of them are louder than others. They would be the ones who feel that the world needs to know their take on how things should really be, including the upcoming election and who to vote for, as well as why. Truly, I do wish this election would be over, however, I know in my heart that they will find the next topic to have differences about and will be more than happy to share it.
Now you know all about my secret rendezous that I have usually on Mondays. I even get ideas for some blogs and my novel while in there. It must have something to do with the the coffee aromas swirling around because as I see it...everything gets better with coffee, including Mondays!
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