There’s a Starbucks around the corner from my apartment in Queens that I’ve recently adopted as my work space. I woke up to this gray Sunday morning with nothing to do with the day but write. I felt great. I was single, semi-hot, talented, and my laptop was fully charged. I was in the coffee shop (well, Starbucks) by 11:00.
I ordered my medium latte. I always say ‘medium’ in an above-inside voice as a way of protesting against anyone forcing me to speak Italian.
“Grande?” the barista asked – protesting my protest.
“Medium!” I almost yelled, and she glared at me when she took my credit card. Score one for the independents of the world. Score one for the independents who order their hot beverages at a Starbucks using a credit card.
I set up shop at a table next the window. I like the window seats cause I never know what to do with my eyes when I can’t think of the next sentence. Unfortunately, today the window seat was next to a jeweler. I say jeweler because it’s the kindest word I can come up with for the insane woman beading plastic, turquoise stones onto fishing wire. She was drinking an iced tea and talking to herself throughout the entire process.
“Ohhhh. This one is good. This one is really good!…Hello you!…This one goes here….I am so tired of this fucking bullshit!!“
I ignored her and stuffed my headphones into my ears and started imagining the future reviews of this coffee shop (well, Starbucks):
“This is where Margaret Miller wrote ‘Title to Be Determined Later.’ As legend has it, she liked the window seat.”
There are certain mornings that I enjoy being a writer. Though those are few and far between. Writing is like going to a shrink who doesn’t really care for you. The blinking cursor on a blank word document shouts out your failures with 1/2 second regularity. After it goes on for a while about your prom dress and that guy you screwed in Memphis after 12 PBRs, it attacks your lack of knowledge of worldly events. “You don’t even know who was fighting who in WW1. And on top of that, I’ll give you $20 if you can point out Uganda on a map”
After a while the script grows simple. blink – blink – blink “Why aren’t you writing? Why aren’t you writing? Why aren’t you writing?”
I was trying to avoid my nemesis by looking out the window when the jeweler started getting upset. “I’M SO SICK OF THIS SHIT!” I had no idea what shit she was talking about. The beads, the coffee shop, the iced tea, the tragic cliche of coffee shop (Starbucks) writers like me who had no one but her laptop to share Sunday brunch with. I didn’t think to ask her. I was envisioning bigger and better things. My Magnum Opus. The piece that would put make this little table immortal. The piece that would negate any prom dress, PBR, Uganda misunderstandings that might have mis-categorized me up until this very Sunday morning.
The jeweler banged on her cassette player and asked someone not visible who the hell he thought he was. I couldn’t help but wonder…did she insist on the word “Medium” when she ordered her coffee? Purposefully avoiding the seven-by-eight menu above her? Making a point when there was no point to be made? No mind: I took a deep breath and garnered enough courage to place my fingers on the keys when I heard a sharp cry to my right:
“THIS IS THE FUCKING SHIT THAT FUCKING DREAMS ARE MADE OF!!”
That’s the funny thing about New York. Moments of greatness come and go on a weekly basis. But there will consistently be a potential jeweler nearby, who turns you into just a potential.