One of the things I like to do is get out of my house with my trusty Mac Air and head over to a certain coffee shop, which is featured in my book, Kick. Ah, my little neighborhood Starbucks. Dependable, and convenient, staffed by hipster employees with lots of tattoos and cool hairstyles, and really, really crappy customer service, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Often, it’s easier for me to push my daily word count if I’m writing at a coffee shop. There’s music playing, not too loud, and usually stuff I’ve never heard but find myself enjoying anyway. There’s food and coffee and the chance to stretch my legs with the occasional trip to the counter if I so desire. Best of all, there’s an endless parade of every conceivable walk of life a few paces from my cushy chair. For a writer, there’s nothing like people-watching when you’re writing about people. And because I’m not home, there’s no TV to distract me or pets or family, so I have no excuse not to push that daily word count to nosebleed heights.
And then HE walks in.
You know who he is, don’t you? He’s the guy you said “Hi” to that one time when he sat in the cushy chair next to you — like a year ago. Or maybe you’d innocently asked, “Wow, what’s that book you’re reading?” Whatever it was, the guy replied back–and he never shut up. He told you about his ex-wife almost immediately, then listed his problems with the government, his neighbor, his landlord, and how people had really pulled together back in WW2. Then he went on to say how women overseas appreciated men more than American women, and then complimented you for being one of the “few smart people in the world” and how “guys like us are a dying breed” before looping back to the stuff about how awful American women were. And no matter how minimal and noncommittal your responses are, or how much you wish he’d get the hint that you didn’t want to talk, your unwillingness to tell him to shut up is just enough to keep him going on and on and on and on, and now you can’t write whatever you thought you wanted to write today, so you click open your email and text your wife, “Help, I’m prisoner at Starbucks! Please call me back for the love of God!!!”
That. Just. Happened.