A whole bunch of us are about to be categorized as personae non grata. That’s Latin for unwelcome freeloaders. I want that printed on my business cards, I think, sounds better than flunky.
Apparently, teleworkers are commandeering coffee shops, acting as if we own the places. We camp out all day taking up space and Wi-Fi and, in return, buy one measly beverage. You know, that’s a terrific, value-added deal, except the rightful owners are getting pissed. They’d like us to leave unless we spend more than time in their establishments.
I’ve always felt a little guilty sailing into Starbucks or Barnes & Noble and plugging in my laptop. Free electricity, free Wi-Fi, free a/c and heat, free bathrooms, and I buy a latte? A grande, at that. Not even venti. Does that make me a deadbeat? Yes, but I can’t afford $5 a day for coffee. I can’t afford feeling like a bum, either, it’s tough on the ego. So …
Libraries provide the same things, some even offer coffee, but it’s not the same. They’re serious places, somber and thoughtful. I’m not. Libraries are wonderful for theses and white papers, research and disquisitions, but they’re too formal and restrained for the silliness I engage in. I think maybe it’s the quiet. I can’t concentrate when it’s that quiet, there needs to be music or talking or ringing phones. Something. Silence is very distracting.
In my unsolicited opinion, coffee shops are better promoters of free thinking. They have constant activity, a lovely aroma, the noisy hiss and burble of espresso machines, friendly chatter. It has the bustle and hum of an office environment. I get more done, but feel self-conscious and sheepish doing it. Does that count? The fact that I’m paying a price in self-esteem?
Probably not, but it should. Self-esteem doesn’t come cheap, dammit.