I found myself with a couple of days that were not slammed with a bunch of Mama To-Do’s, errands, or work. Before life could come and snatch them up for the mistake, I quickly penciled in some massive time blocks for ME time. I declared a good choice simply because it was good for my mental health.
To be fair, this time was not to be used frivolously, but instead carefully for planning and actual writing of assignments and articles, and to work on upcoming projects and even that book that I’ve had on the back burner for months… that stretched into a full year now. Two days with five hour time blocks. It felt like a retreat while never leaving town. All I had to do was to get up and manage to get out of the house.
Ah! There’s the kicker usually. That’s usually my hang up, even though my kids are teens, not toddlers. So when I got away scott-free? I was lulled into the assumption that I was home free! It was THEN that the chaos began. It followed me. It nipped at my heels, attempting to throw me off my mission. But I am not easily tossed, my foul and trip-happy friend. I will fight for my writing days at every turn. They just don’t come around often enough to let them go so easily.
I had headed out to my favorite local coffee hub and after circling the parking lot twice, longingly looking into the windows like a reverse pet shop puppy. I told myself unconvincingly that I didn’t really want to be there anyway. It was busy and crowded and would be full of glorious chatter, I mean distracting chatter, and I was better off somewhere quiet. Yes. I would find the quiet.
I turned into traffic and thought of the next closest place I still loved. I mentally crossed off a spot I had already passed that was packed with tot totting mommas and their sanity dates. It was pouring down rain and the sunny spots outdoors that I could use other days would be off limits this day.
I went past a tiny Starbucks, knowing that the few seats it had would be more than filled with the people in the parking lot and in line. A sudden thought of inspiration hit. The bookstore! I swung around, parked, and dashed into the wonderful aroma of new books and music swirling overhead. Yes. This would do.
With my pick of the entire seating area in the coffee nook, I choose a little table out of the way. I set up shop and congratulated myself. This was gonna be a great day! I got started and began the planning. I wanted all the assignments on a calendar. I have a habit of not noticing them when left to my phone’s list. I was feeling proud of my organizational awesomeness when I was rudely disrupted by two men talking loudly. They decided to plant themselves at the table next to me.
I am not sure how I manage to be a magnet, but seriously, I could have chosen any seat in that place and they would’ve sat next to me sure as anything. I’m sorry, sir, but you and your conversations are not interesting to me nor do I want to nod your direction in camaraderie. Sorry to disappoint.
They proceeded to make business calls loudly, clear their throats as with an annoying vocal tic vs cold need. I wasn’t sure I had the ability to be boldly rude and move to the other side of the cafe. I dreamed of doing so, since I’d forgotten my headphones. I sat with my fingers quite literally in my ears, hair draped over my face like a curtain, attempting to block it all out.
I was set to move, to actually do it after a long, slow, steamy burn when a frazzled mom and three kids plopped down in the middle of the cafe and took up residence. She’d had her limit; they’d reached theirs an hour ago from the look, but by God, they’d come for story time and they were gonna stay and do it, or else Mama would be joining her kids for a hearty meltdown.
Listen, I get it. Okay? I got three kids who used to drive me to frazzle daily, and while I wanted to send sweet smiles of understanding her way, well, for once this patient and usually understanding woman had had her own personal limit and needed her alone time, alright? So NO. I ignored them and did not send her sweet “I get you” looks; instead letting my burn become a blaze.
The screaming, quite simply, broke me. It fueled my ability to pack up my crap and reprimand myself for such an early celebration, and make my exit. I gunned it over to the target across the street and entered the empty Starbucks outlet; planting myself again. There I made it a whole ten blissful minutes before being found by the retail-therapy shopping moms. An ankle-biter sized foot race path was apparently plotted along my table side, unbeknownst to me, and again, I packed it up after trying to outlast them. Once a third mom joined an already crowded table, I realized this was not going to be a quick stop for mom’s caffeinated cleanser.
I plopped down across this latest parking lot in an Arby’s, bought a drink so I could use the booth without guilt, and finished the last piece I was trying to get out of my head before heading home. Instead of refreshed, I felt like I’d just run a half marathon in an attempt to get my 500 words out.
Truth be told, I accomplished a lot, I actually slugged out three of those, but I wanted more. I had so much more in me to do. But hey, tomorrow was another day and I’d have another try at this. Take heart, girl.
So, seriously, if you’re still ready my rant, you’ll laugh at this …
On the advice of a friend about their past favorite writing spot, I decided to begin today there. “Oh there’s never anyone there, so it’s really quiet.” Here’s the thing about quiet spots no one is ever at…they go out of business. I sat in the parking lot and was forced to laugh at the stupidity of it all.
I am now sitting in the McDonald’s across the street from the would be wonderful place and writing a rant.
Next up? The library. I know, I know. Why not just START there? Well because I love coffee houses, and out of the way spots. I love to sip on a beverage and think while looking out a window at the world passing by. If you are local, and you love coffee houses, tell me your favorite, because I plan to look up a lot of new ones this summer and fall. Hopefully my old favorites are not overloaded every free day I have, but in case they are, I’ll have some back up plans!
I know, I know… first world problems.