I have half an hour to write. Probably less. That's how long the free wifi I'm using right now has given me because I forgot to get a two-hour wifi code from the coffee shop register and now the line is too long to make my way back.
I could just be writing back in my apartment, which is literally across the street, but my room is a mess and there's laundry and dishes to do, and I prefer to write in coffee shops--hence the name of the blog. People have asked me regularly why my blog is called "notes from a coffee shop." I wish I had a more clever and meaningful answer aside from: I needed a blog name. I like writing in coffee shops.
In college, I had a limited pick between Peet's, Starbucks, and the Cyber A. I've never been good with writing/working/etc. in quiet libraries, and my dorm/apartment was always too much of a distraction. The newsroom proved to be a good sanctuary later in college, and it was nice working somewhere with plenty of outlets and no need to ask a stranger to watch my stuff while I went to the restroom.
But coffee shops hold a special place in my heart because it's where I have had some of the best talks (and some of the hardest ones); I met new people for first chats and old friends to catch up with; and been inspired by other laptop-clickers and book-readers around me.
When I first moved to Maryland/DC, I would spend days seeking out the "right" coffee shops--the ones that weren't always filled with screaming, running children, or with people on their cell phones. (As I type, the woman next to me has pulled out her cell phone and is shouting into it while her child runs around.) Also, if there's free wifi, that's a plus, and good coffee/tea (of course). Finding the "right" coffee shop was like finding a piece of home, despite being 3,000 miles away. I could feel homesick in grocery stores and on the subway, but the "right" coffee shop can be a warm embrace.
That's comforting--even if it's only a comfort that lasts for half an hour before the wifi runs out.