Writing Break: Dwell Time

Dwelltime, a coffee bar down the street from Cambridge’s only public high school and fabulous main library,  feels bright, open, warm. A single row of tables along one side, and a few at the windows, provide the seating for the large, open single room. Heck, just look at the photo. It’s nice. Kinda zen.

As a jaded people, we are apparently over the expresso machine, we’re over dark roasts, bitter flavors, burnt offerings; now it’s all about the pour over, and an endless series of wine-like adjectives used to describe said medium roasted coffees.There are the usual expensive sandwiches and pastries in a glass case. You sign the ipad cash register with your finger, be prepared for that, or you’ll feel really old and stupid. I tend to just drink in these places because the seven to nine dollar sandwich offends me–for that much money I expect a giant pile of ethnic food. But that’s me. Four dollars for a cup of coffee is about as far as I can go.

I’m old enough to remember when every porcelain cup of coffee cost 35 cents, and they gave you as much as you wanted. It was bottomless. Because honestly, nobody wanted  much of that foul liquid.

Met a writing friend there early and pounded out 1200 words. My body screamed at me for awhile, saying it wanted to sleep till noon, but I told it to hold that thought, and eventually it calmed and quieted and slipped away leaving only the words and the page and the voices in my head.

Dwelltime has virtually no electrical outlets, just one in the corner, and by 8:05 that seat was taken. Fortunately, I was pretty well charged. Do I need to carry an external laptop battery?

I tasted all the wonderful notes that the little card suggested I might, though I confess to being easily placeboed. A nice cold-grew iced coffee.

Here’s Jay’s Reasons to Write Outside Your House

  1. It is embarrassing to nap in public.
  2. It is illegal to fap in public. (if you don’t know what fapping is, read 10,000 rage cartoons on RRedit. I’ll wait.)
  3. Retail spaces are cleaner and better organized than your home. The noise in your head generated by ominous piles of unsorted mail  does not penetrate beyond the walls of your home. Flee that pile.
  4. You are not expected to clean retail spaces.
  5. You cannot do laundry in most retail spaces. (sure, you could wash out your underwear in the bathroom, in a pinch, but hopefully your situation doesn’t require that.)
  6. Attractive people of the whatever gender(s) you prefer will drift about you, reminding your chromosomes that you are still technically alive. These selfish genes help prevent  napping.
  7. Recent studies suggest that studying in different places improves data retention. I’m going to climb out on a limb and suggest that this generalizes to a variety of cognitive  tasks; the noise, the chaos, all of it, breaks The Silence and defeats the blank page.
  8. I could go on and on but it’s time to write. Wish me luck.
  9. Ok, this time I’m really going. Really.


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