I wish I could say that this was the day I bore down and in a moment of inspired genius, began my book. I wish I could say that on this rainy Wednesday afternoon during the hurricane season here in North Carolina, here in my favorite coffee shop drinking out of a turquoise and green coffee cup - such a large inspiring cup of coffee - my life took off. However, a more likely scenario seems to be that I might just continue to sit here, waiting for the tire to be replaced on my car at the shop down the street, observing people of the community. What the hell is everyone doing here? Does no one work?
It is obvious what they're doing, in most cases, but since these coffee-house dwellers are invoking the worst kind of envy in me with their artsy, offbeat lifestyles I feel the need to criticize them more stringently than is probably necessary. Two are playing chess. One is pregnant. A young man is doing homework, and in between problems planning dinner with friends on his celly. A serious and bespeckled young woman is intently typing on a laptop - I steal a glance and it seems she is writing some sort of grant. Legitimate. All legitimate.
In fact, all these successful looking assholes making me feel completely incomplete in my organized "career" life of sorts. All appear to have something to do, which pisses me off. They are all working on something while I am merely working on getting to a point where I'll be working on something. They are "working on something" while drinking exceedingly large cups of soy lattes and obscure herbal teas, each in his or her own way enforcing the hard cold truth that I have a job to return to and the worst thing is, like the great Ben Folds ends the classic "The Battle of Who Could Care Less," all I can think is, "You're my hero, I confess."
I envy them and I adore them. I view their tattoos, required reading, their friendly interchanges with each other and their solitary confidence as fodder for my daydreams.
Don't get me wrong - I do realize, at least somewhat, the folly of this obsession. Much like being sick which often looks, strangely, glamorous, does this sedentary officeless lifestyle appeal to me. But when under the comforter, surrounded by a thermometer, cough drops, and chicken soup, watching infomercials, paints the perfect image of "sick," I've found myself in that position wanting to get back to my normal routine. Should I really be able to spend hours at the coffee shop working towards my PhD or critiquing important papers, well - it just might not suffice.
Besides, people might be watching me as well. Should one of these hip coffee-drinkers abandon their own crucial work and take a look at my furious notebook writing and say, "Well, what are you working on?" I'll answer, "Oh, it's a book of essays - the observations of a twenty-six year-old on the various routines of humans around her," and I bet that will pass.