I am sitting in Starbucks right now, pretending to be someone I'm not. The person I'm pretending to be is like a regular here. She spends several dollars on a cup of coffee all the time. She has her own coffee at home. Plenty of it. She just woke up this morning with a hankering for some mediocre (but scalding hot) coffee in a paper cup. A paper cup with a message. She appreciates a drink she can read. Who doesn't?
She is not at all amused by the continuously long line of professional coffee drinkers who seem to be ordering their morning beverage in a new and fascinating language. An iced tall dry Americana. Dry? And what's up with that water? It looks like it came from a tap but that woman just paid good money for it. Is it magic water? Dry water? Whatever it is, no one seems the least bit fazed by it. Or excited about it.
Especially not me.
The person I'm pretending to be this morning is much too busy working to even notice such things. This is most certainly not the first time she has lugged her extraordinarily heavy laptop into a public place to get some work done. She does this sort of thing all the time. It helps her focus - the jazz music and people watching and uncomfortable wooden chairs. Not to mention the endless supply of caffeine. Like life blood to a writer like her. This place really is like her home away from home. She affectionately refers to it as "her office". As often as possible. Whether or not it makes sense in conversation. "Oh, I love basketball! I didn't get to watch any this morning though because I was at the office. Just working away on my laptop, all jacked up on Wi-Fi and dry coffee!"
And speaking of Wi-Fi.
Can anyone tell me how the hell that's supposed to work? Seriously. I'm trying my best to pretend to be a busy pretentious writer but without the actual Internet to distract and convince me, it's not an easy charade. I mean, I'm "blogging" in Microsoft Word for godsake. And my coffee? Just a normal cuppa joe. I may have even said "medium" when I ordered it. What a sham.
A normal person would just ask the barista man for help but I hate to interrupt him to point out how stupid I am. Besides, he's neck deep in a conversation with Miss Vandy Pants about the small art school he went to and how he misses riding his motorcycle to Santa Barbara to visit his girlfriend. Those really were the days, weren't they? The summer of '69 and all that. He may be inappropriately old for this conversation but he's more than making up for it with enthusiasm and thoughtfully designed facial hair. I'm pulling for him. I really am. But there's no way in hell I'm asking him how to use my laptop in a public place. If anyone should know how to do that, it's someone like me. Or, at least the me I'm pretending to be.
The real me thinks this coffee is gross. But our Costco can of grounds ran out yesterday and after skipping my morning cup on Monday for my glucose screening, I know better than to face the day without a little bit of caffeine. Besides, this Starbucks is right next to Liam's new preschool where I dropped him off for the third (successful!) time this morning. With him doing his own thing for the next 5 hours, I feel it's my responsibility to do something I can't normally do. Like sit somewhere other than home "on my laptop" and work without interruption. But, there are way more distractions here than there are at home. No one is trying to engage with me directly which is nice but there are so many people to watch and stories to make up. This is like heaven and hell for a people watcher like me! Plus, you know, the whole Wi-Fi situation. Not to mention I am sticky with sunscreen from getting Liam ready for school and I have to pee. Bad. Do I pack up my stuff to go to the bathroom or leave it here unattended? I should know this stuff by now. I really should. It's 2010. Like 10 years after most people have taken their maiden laptop voyage. I'm feeling like an old dog who's not in the mood to learn a new trick. I just want to gnaw on my bone and growl if anyone gets too close to my corner. I think I'll pack up my stuff and hit the john. If I want to sit down again to choke back the rest of this coffee, there's plenty going on around here to keep me entertained without the pretend Internet. And if all else fails, at least I've got my cup to read.