Smile Politely

Coffee shops, bars, and libraries. Oh my!

I had every intention of taking a “bye” this week, but my undying work ethic got the best of me. I’ve been consumed with writing my master’s thesis all day, every day, and the thought of sitting down to write anything else was a nauseating one. But alas, here I am, hours before my deadline, composing what is pretty much the exact opposite of the work I’ve been doing all week.

When I started thinking about content for this week’s column, I decided I had better work smarter and not harder. So, I will give you a small sample of my experiences at coffee shops, bars, and libraries around town. Actually, I only worked at one of each, but I hit all three every day.

I started each morning at Café Kopi, and by the week’s end, am convinced that place gets a little stranger every day. I will forever be a customer, but, without going into details, it seems as though some of the clientele think it’s acceptable to say anything to anyone at any time, regardless of how engaged she may be in her work. Luckily, the café au lait, the friendly staff, and the charming sound of that creaky wood floor make up for the awkward conversations I found myself having.

From there, I would head across the street to the Esquire, soak up an hour or so of sun, and maybe eat an entire artichoke and red pepper pizza. Whoopsie. The food and the service here are outstanding. And if you can tolerate Kerry’s bad jokes, this is a great place to get a bit of work done. Of course, the booze is tempting, so I forced myself to bail after an hour or so, before I succumbed to that seductive bitch I call The Afternoon Bloody Mary.

From there I went to the Champaign Public Library. This is where all the deliciousness of coffee and pizza vanished, and I was surrounded with nothing but other avidly working grown-ups who were not interested in succumbing to any of life’s wonderful vices. I spent about four hours here every afternoon, and found that this was where I got some of my best writing done. I considered, once, since I got so much more done at the library than anywhere else, heading there first thing in the morning and working there all day. Then I quickly concluded, likely for sanity’s sake, that Kopi’s coffee and Esquire’s pizza had to be the catalysts for my afternoon strokes of genius. Whew. Good thing. 

As far as random pieces of funny from this week, I did hear a few. However, Kerry likes to retain ownership of his jokes, and since he bought me my first meal at Wedge this week (holy shit it was delicious), I’ll let him hold on to those. But in closing, here’s some advice a neighbor gave me. Apparently, he learned it as a teenager: “Never open your mouth when you have an erection. You never know what you’ll say.” And I leave you with that brilliance.

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