I’ve been doing it all wrong for the past 10 years.
The coffeeshop is not the destination. It is the journey, the waystation, the pit stop. It is the refreshment break on the way to somewhere else where I’m actually doing something with my life. I should’ve picked up on this years ago, but I didn’t, and I’m a stupid dumbass for not seeing it. Most of the people I know through hanging out at coffeeshops have actually gone on to do great and interesting things. Yet I am still here, bored, alone, and unfulfilled.
Sure. I carry my laptop with me. Sure. I can work on my projects. Sure. But only if I’m not distracted. But only if my projects can be fully-contained in my laptop. But only if I don’t burn out. You know what I miss? I miss putting my hands on stuff. I miss building models. I miss making music. I miss working at the printshop because at the end of the day, I had a tangible result in my hands. I can’t hold a website. I can’t touch a raytraced picture. But I can touch a welding. I can touch a drawing.
And I can touch a friend. There are no friends here. There are people I know, people who know me. People I want to know, and people I try to avoid. But there are no close friends. Because what kind of friendship can you build while sitting on your ass around a table? There’s only a finite amount of stuff to talk about before you find a topic to piss each other off. You know how you build friendships? You stand up and go do things. What things? ANYTHING. SOMETHING. You exit the door and leave. You make a plan and see what sticks. You head up a posse and see who sticks around. That’s what you do. That’s what the fully-actualized, self-motivated people do.
That’s not what I’ve been doing. I’ve been treating the coffeeshop as the high point of the night. Thinking that if I get dressed, comb my hair, and go down to the coffeeshop to see who’s there, I will find someone to hang out with and have an enjoyable evening. That happens rarely, but often enough to keep my hooked into that thinking. It’s like lottery; sometimes, you match a few digits and get three bucks back, so you reinvest that money into three more tickets and then get nothing back. But there’s the possibility that you could win big. And I’ve been playing this cafe lotto for far too long.
My old friends have moved on to have careers, lives, families, success in art, fellowship in communal projects, have increased their minds through further studies and solitary, quiet contemplations in private. I have a laptop, a half-empty cup of joe, and the psychic burden of letting my life decay.
The coffeeshop is not the destination.