I am in search of a new place to call my own for blog writing. It’s quite wrenching after so many years at the Tik Talk to have to go forth and sample other environments until I find the right one — like that girl who trespassed in the bears’ house. But I, unlike Goldilocks, won’t sample the fare without paying. I’ll cough up the money for a tea just for the privilege of sitting at a little table, listening to conversations and, hopefully, writing.
I’ve gotten quite used to creating in a plate-clattering, people-talking, bread-baking kind of environment. I never thought I could. When I was finally finishing up my Bachelor’s degree — and believe me it was definitely a finally since I took my first course in 1965 and got my degree in 1993 — I never could have written a paper in a public place where people might look over my shoulder and see what I was doing. I had to have total, undisturbed, quieter-than-quiet SILENCE to bring forth the ideas and sentences and thoughts that would wow my professors and get me the ego-boosting A that I so needed at the time. In those days, I still worked at that law firm, so I could go in very early on a Saturday mornings before anyone else showed up, sneak into my 9th floor office, close the doors and hide behind my filing cabinets and type away. It was perfect. Sometimes lawyers found me there and assumed I was available to type their letters or listen to their diatribes about how unfair it was that they should have to be here on a Saturday. In my blunt manner (I was not known for being the most diplomatic person on the staff), I’d tell them to bugger off since I was there doing my own work and didn’t have time for whines from over-paid lackeys. I’d write all day and by the time I left at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m., the paper would be finished.
But that was then and now is now. I’ve come to like having company while I’m working. I did give the “new” Tik Talk Cafe a chance. I went back yesterday for my regular Wednesday-Afternoon-at-4 Hablamos Espanol with Clara. We’ve been meeting for months now ever since I spotted her one day at the Tik Talk studying from the same Spanish books that I had. We decided that maybe, between the two of us, we might be able to conquer those 32 past tenses of the Spanish verbs. We haven’t — but we have had a lot of laughs trying. I didn’t suggest to Clara that we meet somewhere else this week. I sort of felt like I should give the new owners a chance. But when I walked in yesterday, everything was different in a way I just found sad. I did go up to the counter to ask Jane, the new Albanian-owner, how things were going. I had met and talked to her many times over the summer. She gave me a slit-eyed squint and said, in a snarky manner, “Where have you been?” So that’s that. Clara and I decided to find new digs for our ¡Ay, carambas! in the future.
And that gets me to today. I had marked Blog Writing in my calendar for Thursday — today — so I had to do it. But where? That was indeed the question as I procrastinated my morning away not answering it. I did, however, come up with some criteria for my New-Office-Away-From-Home Cafe: (1) Close to Home — I don’t want to go schlepping all about town looking like a work horse with my laptop slung over my neck; (2) A cosy environment — one of those cute little, friendly independently owned-establishments and not, please, the Starbucks-Tim Horton’s-Second Cup alternatives; (3) an interesting mix of clientele to add to the ambiance of the place — not just hip, technically-savvy, 20-somethings who look askance at grey-haired beauties like me; (4) a good, inexpensive Earl Grey tea that I can nurse through hours of writing without one lifted eyebrow from the barista (actually, I don’t want anyplace where anyone is called a barista); and, (5) a place where people know my name — eventually.
I’m sure my next cafe (cafes?) is out there somewhere and I’m sure I’ll find it eventually. I just didn’t have the heart to start the search today. But I knew, for a fact, that if I stayed home I’d never write a word. (I really must do something about that one of these days!) That’s when I remembered the Pods at the Reference Library. I used to be here every week when I had English students. But when my last student went back to Japan in April, I sort of forgot about these wonderful little glass tubes. The Pods sort of remind me of the Isolation Booth in that old-crooked TV quiz show — $64,000 Question — except that was supposedly sound-proof and these aren’t. I asked the librarian why they wouldn’t have built them to be soundproof at the start — this was after she had politely chastised me and my student for talking too loudly in our pod. The librarian explained that the Pod Designer thought it would energize and encourage the Pod Dwellers to not only see folks but to hear the murmur of other people working in other pods and in the room around them. I doubted the reasoning of that at the time but not today. Here I am all alone in my little glass pod but I’m not alone at the same time. Very cool, indeed. It’s almost like sitting in a cafe — except I don’t have to buy anything.
So, there are good things about Meriya selling the Tik Talk Cafe — besides her finally getting a chance to rest. I rediscovered the lovely Pods at the Library and found out that I can, indeed, write here, and, I’m finally pushing myself to go out there and discover new places and people and smells and tastes. Who knows what I’ll find — and what I’ll write.