Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coffee Shop 'Til You Drop

In my past life (that is to say, my previously employed life), whenever I walked into a coffee shop & saw the tables filled with folks on laptops, I always wondered, "Don't these people have jobs?!" The answer, I can now report back to you, is no. We don't.

I love working from coffee shops. During Snowpocalypse, I was so excited to work from a coffee shop (& to have human interaction after being snowed in for a week) that I trudged to Open City, laptop in arm, to sip chai lattes & live the coffee-shop-as-office life. Now that I'm (f)unemployed, I'm capitalizing on the, um, opportunity to patronize Starbucks during normal business hours.

A few thoughts on hanging out in coffee shops: 
  • I'm trying to stick to a normal schedule, so I've been leaving my apartment around 10a.m. or so, & not coming back until 5p.m. or later. And though $5 is a cheap price to pay for office space, it seems eight hours is a liiiittle too long to spend in Starbucks.
  • Comfy armchairs may look comfortable, but don't be fooled. They're basically designed to discourage folks like me from loitering too long after our lattes are finished. Also, I may have developed carpal tunnel from sitting Indian-style & holding my wrists vertical to type at a too-tall table.
  • Inappropriate behavior abounds:
    • People who don't wear headphones when there's sound coming from their computers in public are the worst kind of people. I'm looking at you, Dude Playing a Computer Game With an Autotuned '90s Theme Song.
    • While coffee shops can make for quaint, intimate date spots, they're not the appropriate place for boisterous, not-so-witty banter & the kind of arm-smacking, shoulder-punching "flirting" that most of us mastered in the fourth grade.
    • If you have a voice like Leslie Mann, you should not talk. Ever. But especially not in quiet coffee shops. Leslie Mann has a number of admirable physical qualities, but the sound of her voice is not one of them. My ears, they bleed.
Suddenly, I'm struck with a thought of mind-blowingly simple proportions: I have become one of those people who blogs from coffee shops. Temporary position or not, mission accomplished.

A D.C. Rant for the Road

Yesterday's post was a little emo, to be sure - but of course, I couldn't leave this city in good conscience if I didn't also leave with a few lingering rants. Because my brain is still mush, I'm mostly thinking in list form, but that's A-OK because bullet points are the best way to stage a countdown - in this case, to my number-one city-related pet peeve.

I present you: The Top Five Things I Won't Miss About the District of Columbia
  1. Too-hot-to-breathe summers. It's almost October, yet I still feel like I'm suffocating from the waist down any time I wear pants outdoors, & my . The South is not my friend.

  2. City vermin, i.e. rats (I swear I saw one the size of a cat the other night) & roaches (uh, remember this? And then THIS? I'm twitching just thinking about them.)

  3. The bad kind of tourists. Like the "Mommy Patriots" I got stuck between on a Metro ride last week. As if the phrase "Mommy Patriots" weren't bad enough, they had to go & make these shirts, which I'm sure they must've thought were quite clever:

    Come rallyin' day, though, I bet they felt a lot less clever about choosing light blue...

  4. Grocery shopping. You suburban folk would be appalled if you had to get yer foodstuffs the way we do here in the city. The closest supermarkets are one mile in either direction, which means loading my groceries upon my body like a pack mule as I bus home. A very sore, sweaty, whiny pack mule. My achin' back is cryin' out for a four-door sedan & a roomy trunk.
And finally, the number one thing I won't miss about our nation's capital....
  1. Escalefters. I still hate you, escalefters, & that's all there is to it. After three years of your left-standing bullshiz, I don't even have any words left for you.

    Wait! Don't go! I found some more words: If you are standing on the right but balancing a stroller on the left, you still count as an escalefter. In fact, I'd wager to say that you count double because you're less likely to move when I say "excuse me." Or maybe I won't even say "excuse me" because, you know, I actually am a nice person - & what if there's a baby in there, precariously balancing on the left as you try to He-Man its stroller up a mechanical hill? I'm not about to risk any babies' lives here, so I'll wait. But that doesn't mean I won't have a silent temper tantrum about it behind your back the whole time & then zoom past you like Michael Phelps in the final lap as soon as the escalator meets the pavement. And then? I'll blog about you, too. Because my ire knows no bounds.
This list could probably be a whole lot longer. I didn't even include, for example, the crazies who've threatened to kill me while I tried to enjoy my public transportation experience. For that matter, I didn't even include public transportation. But I'm trying to keep it upbeat, all right? And five is a concise, not-too-much-complaining number, lest you think I'm all rant & no rave.

Anyway, I'll probably post a list soon of things I will miss. And it'll be longer, & much less whinier. But it'll probably also feel at least marginally less satisfying. So there.
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