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.