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Recently I complained to Rodney about the lack of office space in our neighborhood. “Office” meaning any place other than my apartment; “Space” meaning anything bigger than a 12” Starbucks pedestal table.

Rodney mentioned that a new bar had just opened on 8th avenue – according to him, a great spot, good food, nice and quiet, wireless access.

This… was innovation on a new dimension. Work at a bar? With craft beer? And duck poutine on the menu? So long Starbucks, there’s a new kid in town.

Working at a bar seems like a practical idea until you’re 50 sips deep into an English IPA and no longer have the clarity to write a grammatically-correct sentence, never mind a sentence that sparkles with creativity and wit.

And you feel guilty for having your light-spewing laptop open in a bar with limited windows, leather banquettes, and acres of dark wood.

Rodney doesn’t feel guilty about that kind of thing. Low on quarters to do laundry in our building, he’ll amble into the neighborhood laundromat to raid the quarter machine. The one with the full-width sign taped to the front stating “FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY”.

Which is why I usually send him out to do my dirty work. Guilt. Plagues. Me.

I feel guilty for the laptop. Guilty for ordering a beer and no food. Guilty that I’ve hired a babysitter to help with afterschool pickup so that I can get some work done, and here I am swilling brewskis. I’m sure that you could psychoanalyze the hell out of this. Show me a Rorschach and I’d see Atlas with the world on his shoulders and a pint in both hands.

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This bar, though a happy place for Rodney to get work done on the occasional weekend, would not be my solution.

I dragged my tipsy self back to Starbucks, back to the pedestal table. I reserved my spot with a scarf and a notebook. No laptop, no valuables, I know the routine. I ordered my coffee. I returned to my seat. I gazed into the wall mirror at someone two tables down who looked remarkably like my Dad. I re-focused, took a sip of my coffee and got back to business. Because long-lost family members or not, Starbucks is where I’m most productive.

What I need to do – rather than find a new place to work – is to re-train myself on all of the positive benefits of working at Starbucks. Accessible bathrooms that aren’t often clean, but sometimes are! Baristas who write my name on my cup so that I’ll always know that it’s mine! And most important, I won’t get drunk when I’m working.

You see? That wasn’t that hard. I just needed to shift my perspective. I needed to walk down the street to greener pastures and find out that hey! They were sort of a muddy green after all.

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