his is the cliché: you sit in a coffee shop, the laptop lid is pointed toward an empty seat, beyond which is the mass of mocca- or coco- or latte- or smoothie- or kopi- or whatever-drinking blatherers. You observe for a second, an eye steals a glance at the wavy-haired, diminutive figure in the corner, you embed your head in the screen.
It’s a cliché, all right. I should have dipped my laptop in a vat of purple goop so I may at least have deviated from the mental image of this here lappie being white with a nice, silvery logo. Well, at least it’s not an Apple computer. Anyway, that’s the cliché, and that’s where I am and have been for three hours every day this week. Living the life of a writer in a sitcom. Typing on scissor switches with a mouthful of cold croissant, in between sips from an obscenely large mug.
It will be over tomorrow, so today I wonder if all this is worthy of reflection, and what value is supposed to be gained here.
This is such a transitory place. Density swells at a predictable level and pace. If I arrive at 11 AM, I will not find this corner unoccupied. Ninety minutes later, one may wonder whether they’re closing for lunch. Noise will correlate positively with density. Fifteen minutes ago, I would not have been able to hear myself think had my ears not trained themselves to transform the incoherent cacophony of voices into an ignorable drone. Now, the silence feels alien, punctuated by a few lonely voices and inescapable 80s pop music. I didn’t notice the soundtrack. I had grown so used to the noise that it painted the walls of my brief existence here.
That’s moot now. Two people arrive. Then a group of five. A man with a packaged sandwich sits down beside the window, a quiet lunch in mind. The cacophony returns. Unease joins it.