I spend hours in the same coffee shop. Not because I love coffee, but for the free wifi. And in this small town, only a few places have free wifi. I drop off my little one and head to this same coffee shop every day. Parking is a task here, so almost every time I park in zones that say “3 hour parking from 9AM to 5PM.” I find my spot and run in with my humongous laptop. I scour the coffee shop for an open seat in this sea of caffeine-loving humanity. There are few choice spots in this shop so usually I am a nomad. I find an open seat right next to the guy who talks to himself about split pea soup. Then I migrate to a seat at a long table next to a couple who always seems to forget that this is a public place because they can’t keep their tongues out of each others’ mouths. And usually on the third migration, I end up at a nice small table for one right next to a power outlet.
Peace at last. I can pretend to be busy now. And by busy I mean pinning stuff on Pinterest, liking photos and statuses on Facebook and Instagram, and watching random funny kitty cat videos on YouTube. Eventually, I open my mind and start to write. And in that moment, my mind is consumed by plots and complex conversations to add to my book. I wear headphones but there is no music flowing through these ear buds. I wear them because the conversations around me become interesting and will cause me to stop to eavesdrop.
“Yes, Karen….he won’t stop pooping. No matter what he eats…he poops. We spend a fortune on toilet paper alone.”
“…And I told him, Evan…you are not gonna get in to a good college with those grades. Think about your future here.”
“How old is Evan again?”
“He’s in Kindergarten…if he can’t get an ‘E’ in ‘Spelling’ how can he even think and ask for a playskool doctor toy kit? You think doctors get ‘E’s on their report cards?”
“I think you are being too rough on him, Karen.”
Yes, it’s all fascinating. When I am all written out and finally go off to work, I hop in my car and drive to work. But, lately I’ve noticed something.
Pink chalk on my tires. It started a few days ago. Ahh, the sign that says “3 hour parking from 9-5.” This never used to happen…did Peet’s tell on me?”
“Yes, officer this is Peet’s Coffee House? There is this guy…he floats around our lobby with his huge laptop and sits for hours. He never buys our coffee…he comes in with a coffee cup from a DIFFERENT coffee place. No? He is not working…he is watching funny kitty videos and taking free samples and he uses the bathroom way too much.”
And the pink chalk started to appear.
(Ok, in my defense…your coffee is way too expensive. And when I DO buy your coffee, it makes me use the bathroom a lot…it’s way too strong.)
So, now I have a daily battle….with pink chalk. I park, I check the time and calculate. And when it gets close to the three hour limit, I run out and move my car.(But wait, I know what you are thinking..what about your laptop? You just leave it there at the coffee shop?) Yes, I leave it there…and no one would steal my laptop, it’s huge and heavy. But, I really appreciate your concern.
Pink chalk is always there to greet me on my tires. I chuckle as I drive off and find a new spot.
“MWAHAHAHA pink chalk, try to catch me now. I found an actual parking spot.”
And I imagine the officer who uses the pink chalk as a weapon looking for me….
“CURSE you Chevy Cruze! You have foiled me again…one day…we will meet…and when we do…it will be glorious.”
Not today, pink chalk.