7:04 p.m.: I decide I can muster the will power to go to Starbucks to read. I unplug from the internet.
7:06 p.m.: I decide that putting my jean jacket over the same shirt I have worn for the last three days will make it look like a different shirt. It does. I’m wearing the same pants I wear everyday.
7:14 p.m.: I arrive with my beach tote. I plop it down on table of choice with full view of store and parking lot.
7:15 p.m.: I confuse the barista when asking exactly how much coffee is in a grande frappaccino. He almost draws a diagram.
7:16 p.m.: I order a Grande Carmel Light Frappaccino with whip and extra carmel sauce on the side of the cup. (I like sauce.) And please don’t judge me for the Light Frappaccino with the extras. It balances out just like getting French fries instead of a hamburger bun.
7:17 p.m.: I pull out Widget PowerBook and Awful Book From Hell and commence reading. I also put on ear buds and listen to Garden State soundtrack quietly.
7:28 p.m.: Cute Coffee Boy arrives. He sits across the room at a small table, the only one available. He pulls out a book and a highlighter. He may or may not have ordered a drink; I’m too distracted by the highlighter.
7:45 p.m.: Cute Coffee Boy is watching me. I am suddenly aware of the speed at which I read, how often I underline, and how I often I turn to Widget and type.
7:56 p.m.: We make eye contact again. He reads faster than me.
7:59 p.m.: I decide to use the fool-proof Jenny Redmond How To Pick Up Guys In Starbucks technique. I take off the ear buds.
8:00 p.m.: He does not move.
8:02 p.m.: I finish Chapter 1. I finish workbook for Chapter 1. Rejoicing happens mentally. I wash my hands and go outside to call Lauren
. She says she is coming. Thank God I have one friend who has to work this summer. And we do pretty well working together. Especially when the Widgets are separating us.
8:14 p.m.: Lauren arrives. She complains about how she can’t write her first sentence.
8:22 p.m.: Lauren complains again. This time it’s about both the non-existent first sentence and all the articles she has to read. I remind her that at least she doesn’t have to read the Awful Book From Hell. She says, “You’re right, at least my reading is meaningful.” I almost slit my wrists with the pages of the Awful Book From Hell.
8:33 p.m.: Cute Coffee Boy gets up and moves to the table directly next to ours. This is it, I think. He’s going to talk to us.
8:34 p.m.: Nope.
8:49 p.m.: Lauren tries to read the title of his book. It’s impossible.
9:01 p.m.: I start wondering why Starbucks hasn’t offered me more coffee since I’ve been there for two hours. They always did it for my roommate. Then I remember that the barista who doesn’t hate me is busy flirting with his unattractive heavy metal friends. In fact, they’re watching The Nightmare Before Christmas on a laptop. Why they are doing this at Starbucks, I do not know. I turn Garden State up louder to drown out the flirting. I also marvel at the amazing battery life of my Widget.
9:07 p.m.: I order my second cup of coffee and an almond toffee bar for dinner. I ask for it in a mug. This is clearly a challenge for the barista who does hate me.
9:18 p.m.: Lauren suggests we just give up working and visit for the next 45 minutes. She only says this because she forgot a book and she is cold and she can’t even write her first sentence. I tell her that I have to read to page 81 in the Awful Book From Hell and answer the corresponding questions in the Awful Workbook From Hell. Then we can visit. This, unfortunately, does take the next 45 minutes. (NOTE: Lauren suggested we stop. Not me. LAUREN.)
9:30 p.m.: Cute Coffee Boy pulls out one of those Neoprene laptop cases. Ladies and gentlemen, PowerBooks just got infinitely hotter. It’s a 15-inch PowerBook and it is so HOT. I make eye contact with Lauren and we are both thinking the exact same thing. We start laughing. We hope he does not notice the correlation between the laughing and the Neoprene.
9:31 p.m.: Lauren says she is going to put her glasses on as to provide one more barrier between us.
9:32 p.m.: Lauren continues to attempt to see Coffee Boy’s book title. It is a lost cause. So is her paper.
9:58 p.m.: Barista throws away the New York Times. I remember how Andrew Mollenbeck told me that I could get a free copy if I told Starbucks that I would recycle the papers. He also said you can usually get free coffee that way (“Since I’m saving the trees and all, maybe you guys could give me some coffee?”). I almost do it but then I remember that I don’t read the papers that come to my house everyday; I’m not going to read the New York Times.
9:59 p.m.: The place is still packed. People are still buying coffee. Lauren and I are confused as to what time it closes. This would be a perfect opportunity for Cute Coffee Boy to tell us. He could also tell us his name and email and the number of children he wants to have.
10:00 p.m.: He doesn’t.
10:01 p.m.: In exasperation, Lauren packs up. She is too cold to endure the pain any longer. She insists that I stay. I am working hard.
10:02 p.m.: I am exasperated. We leave.