Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Weeks Left To Go

My upstairs window at the Javanaut

For four days last week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday), I sat in the Javanaut before my laptop all day, butt glued to the chair, working on my comps, getting up only to use the john and get a refill of tea. I was there from 8:30 in the morning to around 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening. It took me all that time and more to write the four papers required.

Organizing thoughts, and putting them down in lucid form is a challenge for me. My attempt to tie ideas together is like trying to braid hair--one interruption, one slip and the whole thing falls apart. So it was good to be in the coffeeshop those days, where it was easier to tune out everything that surrounded me.

After a couple of days, the rhythms of the place started to grow on me. Since I got there early, I was able to grab my favorite spot upstairs, in the window overlooking 39th street. As the day wore on, the street below would fill with activity. People sat outside on Javanaut's patio. People sat outside at the middle-eastern cafe across the street. People passed by on the sidewalk, a lot of them scruffy, Westport types.

I had the little room to myself. Once in a while someone else would come upstairs with a laptop, but they always headed for one of the other two rooms. It never got so crowded that I had to share my space. The room was full of light from the window and it was a great place to think undisturbed. The sound of the espresso machine drifted upstairs, along with some of the best music mixes I've ever heard: Bob Dylan, contemporary Indie, be-bop Jazz, old-timey country, psychedelic 60's, quirky 80's, George Harrison, techno-weirdness, all tossed together. I was able to enjoy the music on the periphery of my consciousness, while staying focused on my writing.

After I finally finished the comps and hit the "submit" button on my laptop, I got up, pushed my fists into the air, which turned into a stretch, and flopped down in one of the comfy chairs near the table, to let my done-ness sink in for a moment. I drank up the rest of my White Peony tea before descending down the creaky stairs.

On the way home, I picked up a bottle of wine and some Italian bread and went home and made lasagna. The house was empty, because Roger and the girls were still at Annabelle's soccer game, so I turned on the radio and listened to the Reggae Sunset show on 90.1, the community radio station.

Ah, the simple pleasures! I was rocking to the reggae, and cooking a real home-cooked meal, for once, at my leisure. And I began to dream of all the things I was going to do, once school was behind me. I thought about going back to the Javanaut. Hopefully, to write stories.

It's wonderful, this feeling of growing freedom. I have three books left to read, four assignments to turn in, three or four classes left to attend, and some other minor things, but they are nothing to get my panties in a bunch. The worst is over. Forgive the corny metaphor, but I have climbed the toughest peak, and now I just have a comfortable little scramble over a final bunch of rocks, and I'm there.


  1. I'm so excited for you my bohemian friend :)

  2. what a picture this conjures up in my head - mony in her zony in the tippy top of a little shop.

    also my head is filled with questions: did the people working there know what you were doing? or were you just some lady who showed up daily for a few days and stayed forever? did you buy one cup of tea with unlimited refills per day? or did each new hour require a different blend? was there a bathroom upstairs or did you have to go all the way down to the main floor to go.

    i'm happy for you to get so much accomplished. what a wonder you are!

  3. once again, I am delighted and impressed by how much pleasure you get out of the details that would go unnoticed by a lot of people -- the light, the sound of the espresso machine, the music mix -- you do have a real gift of enjoying the moment and that will make for some wonderful stories when you have time to write them.

  4. "mony in her zony in the tippy top of a little shop." You are so funny. You crack me up.

    To answer your questions: I was just some (old lady who showed up every day and never left. The baristas are all tres young. But there were other oldsters like me bringing their laptops and staying for a long time.

    I would order a drink and then disappear upstairs, and they probably forgot I was up there. I stayed so long that there would be a shift change, and so the person taking over had no idea how long I'd been there. You could be doing anything up there and they wouldn't know it. There appears to be only one person on duty at a time, and they never come upstairs to check on you or hassle you, so you have a real feeling of privacy up there.

    I would never want to stay there all day on one purchase. To feel like I was rightfully paying for my spot, I made sure to go downstairs a couple more times to buy more drinks. One time I checked, and I realized that without trying to time it, it was working out to me buying something about every three hours, on the days I stayed for nine hours. I would start out with a latte, and then just order tea after that, though a couple of times they gave me discounts on the tea since it was my 2nd or 3rd purchase.

    The bathroom was all the way downstairs, at the back of the house. I usually would keep typing until I was about to pee my pants, and then I would make the long journey downstairs. I tried to combine my pee breaks with my buying-more-tea breaks, like you do on a long road trip.

  5. this is good stuff, good stuff. i need to know this. thank you

  6. Okay, there needs to be a place in Kansas City called the Simone Hangout and Coffeeshop. Or something.

    And don't forget my idea for a restaurant name: The Stomach.

  7. Yes, Marc, I haven't forgotten. Someday we must make this dream of yours a reality. I think the Stomach would do well in the Crossroads District. Or better yet, the West Bottoms.

  8. After reading a bunch of your recent posts, I feel all refreshed and nourished! Must not let a week go by again without a Simone blog!

    can't wait til your next post!