I tried to go to the library to write this morning, but dammit it doesn’t open until noon on Thursday’s. I should know this because, in the past, I’ve tried to go twice on Thursday mornings with my kids and ran into the same dumb luck.
So instead of getting free library parking downtown I parked in a public lot, which is probably more honest anyway. I was going to sneak out of the library, against policy, to get a bite to eat, move my body, and pick up a new game for my kids at the local toy story. I have a 20% off coupon. The item I want to buy costs $14.99. Saving $3 makes me happy. Plus it’ll pay for the $3 I had to pay to park downtown this morning. Ahhh life, it always seems to have a way of working itself out if you give it enough time.
The whole library, parking, coupon thing worked itself out pretty quickly. My day is off to a good start. I hired a babysitter this morning so I can write for the creative nonfiction class that I am taking this summer. Write glorious write for three hours uninterrupted.
I made my way to a local coffee shop that I frequent — a contrasting change of scenery to the library. The library is quiet. I don’t get caught up hearing snippets of other people’s conversations or a door opening and closing with patrons as they come and go. No sounds of a barista using the latte machine or the ding of the cash register.
When I arrived I immediately had to pee. I surveyed the lay of the land first and spied a high-top table with two chairs that I could have all to myself. I made a beeline for the bathroom and reviewed what other options might be available as I walked in a straight line to my destination. Nothing that beat the high-top that caught my eye when I walked in.
When I turned the handle on the single bathroom door it’s locked. Not wanting to lose my table I went back and dropped my laptop and purse on it, taking only my wallet and phone back to the bathroom. I’m pretty trusting in public places like coffee shops. I am doubtful that someone has it in for me that they’ll take my laptop and purse. I reason, if someone does, at least I’ll have my money & ID and my phone so I can phone a friend if I need a ride. The hypothetical thief will have my car keys. I’m not overly concerned.
Again, I turn the handle on the bathroom door. Still locked. I start to worry it’s going to smell when it’s my turn. I mean, this person has been in there awhile. To distract myself I scan the rectangular shaped room. More men than women today. I easily count about 20 men and compare it to the five women, including myself, in the shop. I wonder why, but don’t wonder too hard. Those statistics mean nothing to me.
The bathroom door opens as I avert my eyes from the summer solstice coffee that’s for sale on a nearby shelf. Out comes man. I hold my breath as I enter, but when I finally do have to take a breath, I am pleasantly surprised. It only smells like the tangerine soft-soap sitting on the sink. The toilet is clean. I wonder what took him so long. Maybe he was doing drugs.
When I finished doing my biz I go back to my table, but soon realize I should have stopped at the counter and ordered something. I remember I had my wallet in hand. I turned around and retraced my steps to the counter. I’m aware that I have a bruise on my right upper leg. My shorts are short enough and my legs long enough that it is easily visible. I wonder if anyone notices. Then I think of the toned muscles in my legs. Short-shorts and long legs trump bruises, I tell myself as I order an iced chai tea. Then I realistically remind myself there is a good chance that absolutely no one noticed or gives a damn about my legs.
When I get back to my high-top table, I check to make sure there is an outlet nearby. I’ll certainly need to charge my laptop at some point. Bingo, there is one right behind the chair I climb up into. I organize my new workshop. Laptop open. Planner, journal, and gel pen stacked neatly behind the screen. Phone, on silent, to my left. Iced chai tea on my right. Sunlight on my back. Good posture, check. OCD satisfied, despite the tippy table. I can work around that.
As I am starting to feel centered, only one my thing. My chai tea needs more ice. Once I take care of that I’m ready to settle in and get lost in the creative nonfiction writing I am doing for the class. I take note of the music playing. I am not certain of the song name, but I am sure it is Van Morrison.
And that’s just something you don’t get at the library.
Time to settle in and get to work. Warm-up complete.