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The Trouble With Writing in Coffee Shops

I love to write in coffee shops. It frees me of the usual distractions from things I could be doing instead, television shows that split my attention and bouncing among a thousand browsers.

So I grabbed a big cappuccino:

cup

And a tiny little cinnamon roll:

roll

Sometimes I write rough drafts longhand  to further minimize distractions, especially if I think I may be bouncing from scene to scene, so I closed up to my iPad and got to work.

Things were going along well for a while. I don’t really notice the ambient noise: the clanking of dishes, the hiss of the espresso machine, the low buzz of conversation once I’m in the zone. I had chosen a small table by the window. It was sunny, but lightly snowing at the same time, not terribly uncommon in Buffalo.

At some point I noticed that I was hypnotized by the shadow of my pen as it scratched across the page. Actually, I use mostly Sharpie pens, which don’t really scratch, but “danced” seemed presumptuous and I’ve apparently used up my supply of decent verbs for the day.

I got a little lost in the shadow of the distinctive shape of my Sharpie for a while, but I pressed on.

Sometimes I hear bits of conversations, like the time I sat next to a young couple who were clearly on a first date, asking each other a series of awkward “get to know you” questions. They seemed to be doing okay, though, their awkwardness a commonality rather than an obstacle.

Today I saw a woman pull up alone and leave with a small child. Kidnapping? The neutral ground shared custody exchange of a bad divorce? Babysitting?

A coffee shop can be a source of either distraction or material depending on how you look at it.

The other issue is that sometimes when I am concentrating I clutch at my hair. I don’t normally realize I’m doing it at the time, but I had to walk the length of the coffee shop to leave and I really hope I didn’t look too much  like a mad scientist.

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Spenser The Dog Looks At Me When I Leave For Work In The Morning

spenserwating

Like a small child who knows he will be left alone all day with nothing but some chew toys and a bowl of kibble.

Not that I ever did that with a small child.

And the statute of limitations is long past anyway.

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There Are Things in the Back of My Fridge Older Than This Fitness Blogger

There Are Things in the Back of My Fridge Older Than This Fitness Blogger.

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Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Checker, Too?

I’m a checker.

There. I’ve said it.

When I get on a plane, I check all the exits, count the seats to each and  make sure I know how to operate my mask and floatation devices. (You’re welcome, Flight Attendants. It’s me, the one who was paying attention.)

When I go to the movies, a show or concert, I note the exits.

I go to tons of general admission concerts and I am always near the front, but I would wager that there are never more than maybe 12 people between me an the exits.

I know where the fire extinguishers and defibrillators are every place I frequent. You can quiz me.

This may all sound a bit neurotic, admittedly, but it’s not borne out of fear or anxiety. I don’t worry about it or even think about it once I have made my visual rounds.

I enter, look around, file away my mental notes and enjoy the evening.

Any other checkers out there?

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The League of Extraordinary Gentlepersons

The League of Extraordinary Gentlepersons.

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The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown.

An entry from one of my other blogs

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I Love My Twenty Dollar Target Man Bag

I stumbled across this at Target a few months back and I’ve been carrying it ever since.

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I devote entirely too much time to finding the perfect bag. I don’t buy expensive bags or designer labels. I don’t think I’ve broken the fifty dollar mark, but I’m always on the hunt.

The perfect bag for me would be like Hermione’s evening bag; a tiny bag of infinite capacity.

So I have resigned myself to multiple bags. This one for daily hauling, a cute black leather studded number for weekends and a wristlet for concerts and the like, which also serves as an everyday wallet.

This bag is great for hauling things to the office, or setting up for a couple of hours at a coffee shop

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It has room for:

My gen 1 iPad

Action Day Planner

Copies of Wired and Writer’s Digest

Touchscreen sensitive gloves

Notebooks

Wallet

iPhone

For smaller things, there is a zippered pocket and I bought a small insert for assorted girl stuff and accoutrements:

Sharpie Pens

Tums

Motrin

Mascara (Clinique Lash-Doubling)

Eyeliner (Buxom Black Insider)

Lipstick or gloss (Dior Show Lipbalm and Burts Bees tinted balm.)

I can even toss a cardigan or bottle of water in there.

Update– I took the pictures in this post a couple of weeks ago, but I’m posting it now after seeing this on Lifehacker– one of my favorite websites:

Show us your bag.

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