It's a brand new day. For the lucky folks of this world, this is usually associated with a refreshed feeling and the smell of fresh coffee. For me, however, it is to the sound of persistent calling by my cousin and early morning traffic that I wake. I have come to the realisation that luck must live on the other side of the river from me, and considering the lack of transport means across said river, I don't wait around for it anymore. So I get up and go through my usual early morning routine all the while wondering what the day would bring with it and hoping for something good. Today I have plans to go to my favourite café to see what I can shake loose from the creative part of my mind which seems to have gone across said river in search of luck. I use the term 'favourite' quite loosely as I have never actually been in the café. The thing is, it- the café - just happens to be in the same building where I work. Every morning I walk by I take a few seconds to stare through the windows and to take in the smell of freshly brewed lattes wafting through the open windows. Each time, I feel a stirring from deep within, an awakening of numerous ideas swirling just beneath the surface looking for an escape. With its great smells and general feeling of being a space for creative geniuses, I feel a pull towards its doors which I usually ignore and move on. I have come to create a parallel between this café and the one in the Taylor Swift song- the one where she meets a really cool guy in a café on a Wednesday- yeah that one. Like the café in the song, I feel this one in real life could signify the start of something new or at the very least, it could serve as the safe space I need so badly to disentangle the chaos that is my mind. I am reminded of a time when things were still simple and life seemed straight forward enough.
You might wonder why such fuss over such a seemingly normal place, and so I feel this is a good time to mention the fact that I am a naturally shy person with not so good people skills. I have spent years working on this as I slowly navigate the numerous challenges of adult life. It hasn't been easy but I have made a definite headway although there are days where I find myself taking numerous steps backwards.
So I prepare and get going, the commute takes about 30 minutes courtesy of the usual traffic situation in this city. This is all still very new to me you see, having just got into town a few weeks ago. I get to the building where I work and take the stairs to the fourth floor, the café is on the ground floor. I inhale deeply as I pass by it, this brings up the usual array of battling emotions which I'm used to by now and suppress as I walk past to get to my office. It's a slow day at work and I get off early. By this time, I've worked up the courage to actually check out the place.
I walk up to the café and instead of walking past as I have been doing for the past few weeks, I take a deep breath and walk in. The door is open, welcoming people off the streets, away from the incessant blaze of the sun. I walk up to the counter feeling nervous and wondering if its too late to turn around. Before I can make up my mind however, the barista at the counter spots me and welcomes me with a polite voice and a smile. This puts me at ease, he seems friendly enough. I know I have to work on my people skills and this would be a good place to start. I walk up to the counter and suddenly I seem to have forgotten what to say next. The barista is currently busy with someone else's order however so I have a minute to gather my thoughts. When he finally looks up, I have a small smile on my face trying my best to look confident.
'Hi', he says with a smile, 'what can I do for you?
'Ummmm...' I begin, unsure of what to say next but I go ahead anyway 'I'm looking for a space to work', I say in a low voice barely above a mumble trailing off as I look around at the space.
'Yeah', he replies, somehow able to hear me, 'what would you like to order?'
I look up at the board behind him while slowly taking in my surroundings and getting a lay of the land. Its a cosy space and there are about five or six other people all busy with their computers. There are a few empty spots, but these are all across from already occupied seats. I don't know if I have mentioned my impossible shyness and not so good people skills. I know then that I need space to myself to work effectively without having to worry about the next person. I also realise that no one there cares about the fact that I've just come in. This does nothing to quell the all too familiar hot feeling rising from my feet and tightening in my chest. I try my best to remain calm and remind myself to not freak out but fail. I need to leave but the barista in front of me is looking at me keenly waiting for my reply. I search my mind for the best way to leave without much fuss but I can't find any. I proceed to make my order against my better judgement. I order an iced tea (which at this point I know I'm not going to be able to enjoy) and am about to pay when I look around again and see a possible way out of my situation.
'How about a charging port' I ask, midway to handing him my debit card, as I can't see any one that's not currently in use.
He points to the front of the shop and I spot one free port. I look in the direction he's pointing at and back at him. I realise I have run out of excuses but at the same time I know I'm about to do something I always do in such situations. I turn around and walk away, noting the perplexed look on the poor guy's face. I feel hot all of a sudden, shaking my head as I high tail it out of the café. I can't seem to stop having cringe worthy moments, no matter how hard I try. I find my way to a nearby restaurant which has a bigger space for work purposes. I'm there now, wondering if I should pass by the café on my way back and apologise to the barista- I can't seem to get the look on his face off my mind. Tell him I'm sorry for making him a victim of my social awkwardness. Then again he probably has numerous of such encounters with people like me and has long forgotten about me and my weirdness.
I am not deterred. I still feel it's the perfect space for me and I know I need to get out of my own way if I'm ever to find out. If I know myself at all- and I do, I would most likely take the back entrance to the building for the next few days or weeks. On the other hand, I might surprise myself, who knows? I sigh as I open my laptop and start typing this narrative, for now it's all I can do.