How do people enjoy this?
Marooned inside a Twin Cities coffee shop on Tuesday afternoon, I G-chatted three typically agreeable peers: Isn't working from these things the worst? And I was rebuked by all of 'em -- they actually enjoy conducting business from these places! Am I, Network-style, the last sane man, screaming with blared futility into the void? Quite possibly. Everyone is wrong but me, and here's why:
To justify my WiFi use, I splurged on a small black coffee and bottle of water. That set me back $4.78 after tip. Good lord! To lend some perspective, had I invested that $4.78 in Apple stock in 1980, I'd have $1,844.82 today.
Clank. Bang. Thud. Creak. Rrrrrrrrrrrr! Those are just some of the horrendous noises that barraged me as I attempted to draft high-quality, professional tweets yesterday. And the insufferable din of chit-chat? You better believe it was constant, buddy. I don't pretend to know what those University of Minnesota students were yammering about, but it made me long for the blanketing silence of City Pages HQ.
At this particular coffee shop, I encountered a benign strain of contemporary R&B. It was fine. It wasn't, however, an endless stream of Purple Mountains and Silver Jews, which is all I've been listening to since the tragic death of David Berman. Headphones may seem like the logical workaround, but here's the deal: My Sennheisers bleed sound like crazy, meaning I'd be subjecting these students to the gloomiest jams imaginable. No-win territory.
Among the attention-grabbing events that yanked me from my essential journalistic muckraking: Doors opening; folks disposing of dishes in the bus bin; doors closing; order after order after order; and endless selfie posing in front of an otherwise unremarkable black brick wall, which may give you a hint about my whereabouts.
At the office, my coworkers have come to anticipate -- dare I say even love? -- my trademark ridiculous posture and thunderous keyboard thwacking. I can't expect the general public to be so forgiving, resulting in self-scrutiny over my physical existence in this dang shop. Plus, what, exactly, is expected of a millennial in a moderately hip coffee shop? If we're to believe the internet, patrons are often collaborating, usually smiling unnervingly, and always at ease, as if the coffee shop is our natural habitat. Plus, the coffee shop industry is apparently one of the few that millennials aren't killing... talk about pressure!
And to that I say: Minneapolis roads, take me home, to the place I belong, to my cubicle content farm in the sky.