I came to my favorite coffee house to write. I’ve always felt a level of comfort here nestled amongst familiarity. There’s a sense of belonging that comes with years of sitting in the same oak chair, in the same sunny corner, surrounded by people you know. As I listen to the chatter of the regulars and the settling in of those new to Jitters, I’m desperate for inspiration. Breathing in the aroma of the freshly run shots of espresso helps, as they permeate the entire shop.
I carefully take the first sip of my Americano knowing that the shots are pulled at a precise 195 degrees. The warmth of the cup, and the steam condensating on my nose as I breath in, sooths me. Today’s assignment is to write a short memoire incorporating setting, and I’m stumped. I struggle to come up with something exciting, entertaining or engaging to share with the class.
I look over and smile at Harper, the six-month-old daughter of one of my Jitters friends. She’s full of smiles today. I play a short game of peak-a-boo, hiding behind the blank page of my word document. Each time I pop my head up she cackles. Her gasps sound more respiratory than comedic, but her sparkling blue eyes make it clear she’s enjoying our game. As I force myself back to the task at hand, I try to focus.
I only get as far as typing the heading on the paper, before Al comes in and sits down. I anticipate distractions when I come here to work and today is no different. He’s in a chatty mood and only a few of the Sunday morning regulars have arrived so far, so he begins to tell me about his week. He has an association meeting on Tuesday with a group of people he prefers to not be around. He’s planning a trip to the Big Island in February and while searching for a picture of the condo he’ll be staying in, gets sidetracked by a Facebook message with a video of 20 unique ways to use vinegar. Declining my offer to use my iPad or laptop, he insists that I watch the video on his phone.
I realize my deadline is approaching and my concern begins to transition from worry to obsession. I have five hundred words to describe something near and dear to me and I’m racking my brain about what to share. I type a generic title that I will alter when I figure out what I’m writing about and with Jack Johnson piping softly through the speakers I begin to free write.
As I begin to pound my keyboard, intentionally seeking the sound of the clicks, I look around and think about the tranquility in the room. Even the intermittent roars of the grinder can’t interrupt the peacefulness of this place. When I finally bring my eyes back to the document before me I realized something very important, never overlook the obvious.