Tabled for Consideration

People often do weird things when they’re chasing productivity. Alas, despite my efforts towards higher things, I am a People.

I do a lot of writing in coffeeshops and where-have-yous. Partly it’s because of the Very Writerly Thing where you get a little energized by the presence and activity of people around you. Partly it’s because I work out of a home office, and going out to write every day or two pretty much insists that I maintain a sensible and regular schedule of showering and shaving.

I’ve come to really like the tables at coffeeshops. They’re meant to take abuse and thwart theft, so they’re solid and heavy. They’re about the perfect height for sitting and typing at, and they’re the perfect size. They’re just big enough to comfortably accommodate a writer, a laptop, a beverage, a muffin, and one source of distraction, such as an iPhone or a hamster in a small cage.

(Don’t bring a hamster into a Panera Bread. You can have the quietest wheel in the world…the management will still get upset.)

So when I came across a nice 28″ coffeehouse table at a consignment shop, I gave it a couple of days’ thought and then came back for it with cash in hand. The sensible part of my brain said it was a nice, well-made table at a great price. The irrational but still useful part of my brain imagined that I might be able to get more writing done late at night if I could occasionally move from the desk in my home office to a room with a coffeehouse table, the arena where I have so frequently plucked victory from the gaping, snapping maw of unproductive defeat. Productivity is productivity, even the cargo cult kind.

But there was a third element to this buying decision. I try not to be a wuss about hot weather. If it’s hot, I turn on a fan. If it’s really hot, I’ll pack up and spend the day working in a series of public places that offer aggressive AC, free WiFi, and unlimited free refills.

If three days of possible triple-digit weather are forecast, however, it turns out that my response is to buy a table and set it up in the bedroom, so that I can work in the one place in the house that has air conditioning.

8 thoughts on “Tabled for Consideration

  1. Claudio

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you set up a coffeehouse environment in your house, with everything but the barista (and annoying customers)? You already have the table…

  2. Kevin Cullis

    Andy would just need to invite us all over to give him the REAL environment to work in as an alternative. But then again, I know the experience of visiting the local coffee shop to write. The next place to stop: Coworking spots.

  3. EB

    I hope the table came with some folded napkins to prop under the leg to keep the table from wobbling. Unless of course it doesn’t need that. But, then, why was someone selling it in the first place!?! Very nice! Enjoy! Nice table!

    PS: it was 108 in Newark, so, be grateful.
    (I don’t live in Newark. I’m just saying.)

  4. Mike Andrews

    So you wasted money on that silly table rather than springing for central air conditioning? I guess it makes sense somehow….

  5. George from Tulsa

    I’m pretty sure that’s the table we sold in a Tulsa garage sale too many years ago to remember exactly when.

    The giveaway is the beveled edge on the top. They came from the “raw wood” store MacBook Air sharp. I used a finishing sander on mine to gently round the edge before finishing clear.

    Of course, maybe that was just a good idea someone else invented too. But its nice to think my ancient handwork now underlies Andy’s excellent reportage.

  6. EricE

    “so that I can work in the one place in the house that has air conditioning.”

    You need to get a ductless mini-split. They are easy to install, economical and can drive up to 8 indoor units off of one outdoor unit:

    And the better ones are whisper quite. You won’t even know they are on. My parents replaced a noisy window unit with a mini-split and they love it – if I ever can get a good enough deal on one my dream is to stick one in the garage for the ultimate in American decadence – working on my car while in climate controlled goodness :)

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