Many years ago, I told my friend Ben that what I really wanted to be when I grew up was to be one of those people who you saw writing all day in a Starbucks.
Be careful what you wish for?
There’s a guy to my left with his laptop doing some writing. Maybe it’s a screenplay. I’m going to tell myself it’s something really exciting and he’s going to be famous because that’s a better story than, “Guy who is like me who’s between jobs and killing that last 45 minutes before class.”
Had a little trouble with last night’s post, but that’s a story for another time. It’s saved to drafts and I think with a couple of tweaks and a little more work, I can fire it up.
OK, what I said about the guy to my left? Forget that. Phone isn’t on vibrate and just blasted at some ear splitting volume a techno-sounding ringtone. Instead of writing a screenplay, I’m just going to presume he’s updating his MySpace page.
The Peters Township Starbucks along Route 19 here in McMurray isn’t the busiest one I’ve been to, really. The one near campus at Southpointe seems to have a lot more people flowing through. It’s just me, Techno, a tattooed police officer, a younger girl in a Pittsburgh Pirates t-shirt and three middle-aged ladies who are sitting in the large comfy chairs up front just quietly reading books. Books. Remember those? Actually made out of paper products? Those were awesome.
It’s otherwise your typical Starbucks, with your typical Starbucks music, typical Starbucks decorations. It’s comfortable. It’s why people like me come here. I know what to expect. I’m not going to be let down or have to worry that what I want isn’t there any more. (Though, to be honest, I’ve taken to rotating my Starbucks locations up here so people don’t look at me and wonder why I’m just posted up at a Starbucks a few hours a day twice a week.)
I was telling Rob yesterday that when I go back to work full time, and man, do I want that to be soon, I’m hopeful that I’m able to find something that has the flexibility my last job had. My last job had a lot of bouncing from meeting to meeting and different projects and sometimes I started my day one place and ended it a hundred miles away. I loved it. Since I’ve been off and I’ve been doing a day or two a week up here and spending time set up quote-unquote working at Starbucks or Panera, I realized how much I love the freedom of it. I’m not sure I’m a rigid schedule person anymore. When I was in the newspaper world, it was a rigid one to an extent — deadlines, after all, are a real thing that happen every day whether you’re prepared or not. Some of my other friends have left media for other desk jobs that are truly that: Desk jobs. They’re at a desk from 8:30 or 9 a.m. until 5, and don’t get outside. I’m not sure I’m programmed that way anymore.
Several times since I’ve been on unplanned vacation, people have told me, “You know, this was maybe fate’s way of telling you that you needed to take a break.” At first, I sort of brushed that off because I couldn’t step outside of myself enough to see what they were talking about. But the months after Mom died really took a toll on me not just mentally and emotionally, but physically, and I’m only just now getting it all straightened out with two different kinds of doctors. I’m starting to feel much, much better physically. That’s a huge deal for me. “I’m fine” only gets you so far. It doesn’t get you out of everything.
It’s kind of fun being the mysterious person writing away in the Starbucks for a while. I’ll take it.