Are You A Douche For “Writing In Public”?

One of my friends sent me this and I thought it was funny! I don’t watch “Family Guy” regularly but appreciate its scattered, satirical humor.

I suppose there are many reasons some of us write in public. For me it started at Whole Foods. This was because I had a stand-alone PC with a dial-up connection. My computer was slow and I never watched YouTube because it would take 45 minutes to load anything. Then my friend Rex gave me his old laptop and off I went. I could walk the three blocks to the cafe at Whole Foods and use their internet for two whole hours (before they cut you off). I wasn’t writing then, I was looking for jobs. I envied those people who looked so bohemian “working on their novels” or “writing their manifesto for the next great communist vegan revolution” but I had work to do. My job was finding a job. It still is.

I never did much writing in Starbucks because they didn’t have wi-fi (unless you paid for it) and I wasn’t “writing” yet. Now I write at Starbucks. Why? It’s local, it’s easy to get to, there is a fire station across the way and I can watch hunky firemen and policemen during the day. The police station isn’t too far and this Starbucks is in a “Nantucket-by-the-Bay” area and not a gang zone. I don’t even know if there ARE any Starbucks in Da Hood. It’s hard for me to picture “Lil Weaser” ordering a venti, double-shot, vanilla latte” with an extra pump.

So I write at Starbucks because of the scenery and because if I don’t get out of the house once in awhile my friends accuse me of being like Howard Hughes. No, I’m not afraid of people and germs, just poor. Now I write and I still look for jobs. How about the douches that DO “write in public?” I think they have a case of smug. It isn’t unique to Starbucks and laptops like the Family Guy clip shows. It always happens to people when there is something new. It happened with pagers. Remember pagers? People would even come up with cute codes to page each other. It was the forerunner of texting. People would haul them out all the time as if to say “Look at me! I am sooo important that my work gave me a pager! I am doing important things. I’m not talking to my blow dealer so leave me alone.”

It happened with car phones. Remember them? They were installed in the car. You couldn’t carry them around but you could TALK IN THE CAR! How did people know you were one of these smug people who could talk in their car? The car phone had what was called a pig’s tail antennae that was affixed to your trunk or the roof of your car. There were people who would buy fake antennae’s just so people would think they had a car phone. I’m sure that also contributed to their cars being broken into more frequently.

It happened with cell phones when they became portable and I’m sure it will happen with robot cyborgs as well. If a new gadget comes out that initially few people have, those few are attacked by a case of smug and have to show off to friends and strangers. They need to say “Look how important and well-off I am that I can have this new toy and you don’t.”

Honestly this goes back to childhood. I mean if you had the Barbie Dreamhouse with the elevator and the Corvette in the driveway, you needed to show it off to your other friends who were making do with empty shoe boxes as Barbie tenement housing. I’m sure little boys have their version of this but I didn’t have brothers so I wouldn’t know. The boys I knew seemed very attached to their immense collection of Match Box cars.

I should say if you want to visit a coffee place with a dearth of laptop writers, go to Peets. There is no writing at Peets. Why? From what I’ve observed, Peets is their own brand of smug. Don’t even think of walking into the patchouli, hippie mothership with their vegan pastries and their smug Prius driving crowd and order a Grande anything. Those hippies will kick you in the balls and toss you out on the street. They don’t take kindly to smug that is not their brand of smug. I suppose if you have a solar laptop you want to write on to craft your latest communist manifesto in the great vegan rebellion, they would be good with that. Otherwise, they will boot you in the junk.

I’m sure there are professional people who write at Starbucks but I think the smug level varies. I’m not sure if many screen writers write in Starbucks. Maybe unemployed ones. I know a few and they write in a writers room at the studio. When they aren’t on the lot, they are writing at home. Perhaps some of them go to a Starbucks but I never asked. It seemed rude. Playwrites always seem more tragic and poor and desperate than Hollywood screen writers. Visions of Tennessee Williams, and many others, wallowing in a sea of whisky while they bang out literary gold on an old Selectric comes to mind. I can picture them trying to quell the mad voices with the liquor. I know none of them saw a Starbucks. I have no idea what modern playwrites do. This might be a project for later. Much later.

So what am I doing today besides kick boxing in my living room and applying for jobs? I think I’ll go to Starbucks or what I call “The Fireman Store” due to the influx of hotties. Maybe I will get a call for a job, maybe not. Either way, I’m sure the view will be nice.

Posted on January 24, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. The Panera Bread I write at most often is at the nexus of several colleges & nearly everyone there are on laptops or netbooks! Procrastinating students with glazed eyes working on leviathan assignments that are due TODAY as well as professors creating their next instruments of student torture, so that writerly types blend right in w/o the air of smugness that might otherwise be more obvious.

    IMO, the reigning monarchs of local smug douchydom are the quasi-businesses that chose Pans to hold their “business meetings” at……during NaNoWriMo, the brittle, overly made-up “regional-director” of a well-known makeup line (with a penchant for pink cars) kept holding these meetings in the middle of the area the management of Panera had designated for my NaNo Write-Ins…..as ML, I’d arrive early to set up the table tents, handouts, etc…..this smug woman dripping shades of turquoise blue eyeshadow, eyeliner AND mascara, fuchsia lipstick AND blusher would assure me that her meeting would be over “WELL” before my gathering was “scheduled”…..they never were, and we’d have to listen to her browbeating desperate women about their lack of commitment to “the product”. She once had a young, plump, casually-dressed mother in tears because she didn’t show up to the meeting in a “smart” (read polyester) business suit & pumps! Even had the nerve to tell her that her grooming might be the reason she had such dismal sales. One of my Wrimos nearly clamped his hand over my mouth cos he could read the “Oh HELL no, not on my watch!” look in my eyes…..I guess smug comes in many flavors of ugly.

  2. There’s a fine old bohemian tradition of writers working in coffee houses. Lenin did it. As did Lennon. So did Hemingway.

    Business plans have been scribbled on the back of coffee house napkins. Don’t apologize for the venue. People are just jealous because they’re either not creative enough to try or can’t take the risk. When you’re writing under contract, you write at home. When you’re on your own dime, you can write where you goddamn well please.

    ‘Sides, it feels so very bohemian. We can imagine we’re in old Vienna and Freud, Picasso or Hemingway is about to walk through the door.

  3. You should totally infiltrate the Mary Kay Commandos and do a blog on them. A girlfriend tried to get me involved with them once and it is an absolute riot.

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