Tag Archives: next great american novel

Dear all the pretentious writers in Starbucks…

I remember once hearing a teacher say something along the lines of “an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest, especially if that object is a person sitting in a coffee shop and you want their seat.”

Or something like that. I don’t know. I was too busy sending professional-grade, orgami-esque folded notes to my best friend about very important topics, such as what fast food restaurant parking lot we were going to hang out at after school.

school note

But even if “technically” not being able to find a seat at Starbucks or some independently-owned cafe that prominently features “local” art of dudes in fedoras playing the saxophone on the walls isn’t considered “science” or whatever, it should be. Because the evidence, based on my extensive research over the past 30 minutes, is irrefutable.

See, as a freelance writer, I am constantly in search of anything that can distract me from actually writing or doing anything productive that might result in something tangible, like a paycheck. And having run out of distracting things to do at home (now that my husband has banned me from dressing up our dog in period costumes and recreating scenes from classic literature since it was, and I quote, “having a negative effect on Buffy’s mental health”)* I decided to go be one of those people who writes in public so everyone (other writers) can stare at me instead of actually writing while I stare at them instead of actually writing.

*Buffy did, however, make an incredible Anna Karenina, if I do say so myself. Until he started chewing on the toy train I kept ramming into him.

Only I never actually got to do that. Because no matter when I go to a coffee shop, no matter what time of day or day of the week, rain or shine or mid-hurricane, the place is already filled with other people whose husband’s have apparently also banned them from dressing up their dogs as Jean Valjean. And this afternoon was the last straw. I literally stood there, hovering creepily over people sitting down, for a full 30 minutes and a seat STILL didn’t open up. Not even when I politely but firmly started coughing on them.

Just who are these people?

I mean, I know in general who they are. They are that group of college students that has at least one of every major race represented and are working on some stupid group project that makes them overuse the word “juxtaposition.”

They are that Very Important Business Man in a cardigan who is waiting to meet someone for a Very Important Business Meeting, which is why they won’t let me sit across from them. But the thing is, the person they are meeting NEVER, EVER COMES.

They are the two moms with the giant strollers and yoga mats who just left Mommy and Me Pilates class with their demon spawn and are taking up the entire back corner so they can sip their green tea latte and discuss Derek Lam’s new line at Kohl’s.

They are the chick who just got done jogging and decided that instead of going home and taking a shower, they should get a hazelnut frappuccino and write the Next Great American Novel.

Now, granted, without further research, all I have right now are a few theories about how these people keep getting these seats, which are as follows:

1. The American obsession with gourmet coffee has created a new race of hybrid humans that are composed of 70 percent caffeine. And the only sustenance they can survive on is seasonal lattes and those 140 calorie cake pops. So, to ensure their survival, these people start lining up outside the doors at 4:30 a.m. every single day and then sleep outside the building when it closes.


2. Whenever potential coffee shop owners see a group of fairly attractive and diverse people milling about in a small area, they just start building around them and thus the people you see in there every day taking up all the seats now live there and are never allowed to leave. This would also explain why you can never actually get into, let alone use, a Starbuck’s bathroom. It’s actually someone’s apartment.

Alas, we may never know the true answer since 1. I’m extremely lazy and probably won’t follow-up on any of this and 2. I may be tired of writing at home but at least my house has vast amounts of vodka, which personally, I think helps the writing process much more than coffee.