We’ve recently moved and are still without internet. The local coffee shop is where I seek refuge when I need some wifi and a few hours alone. During my visits I started to notice some similarities between the coffee shop experience and my home. Hear me out. I think I’m on to something.
We’ll start with the obvious. There’s an abundance of coffee in both locations. Coffee (mostly cream) is my drug of choice. It’s what convinces me to rise from my bed at 5 am when my toddler’s hollering for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cannot.
In both locations I’m the oldest person in the room except for the occasional visitor. At the coffee shop it’s college students and hipsters. So. Much. Plaid. Lace up boots as far as the eye can see. At home it’s a Ninja Turtle lovin’ kindergartner and a two year old (who is the boss of me). I’m the least cool person in either scenario with my Toms and beige cardigan. That’s okay. The appeal of being cool will wear off for them too one day.
Both are loud. The hiss of the espresso machine. The steady stream of chatter. Girls giggling about boys. Boys teasing each other about girls. Discussions about the presidential election and potential conspiracy theories. At home it’s mostly begging to be tickled, pretending to be loud animals on the attack, and question asking.
The later the time of the day the feistier the crowd. I’ve visited the coffee shop on a Sunday morning, a Tuesday afternoon, and a Thursday night. The evening crowd is itching to debate about politics, the world series, and/or what a completely made up word ought to mean. That is not an exaggeration. I’ve eavesdropped on all of those conversations. Everyone joins in. Likewise, if my children are still awake at 9 pm they turn into little gremlins and start climbing the walls and clawing at the furniture. And don’t dare start a debate with them. There will be tears and stomping of feet. Just close the door and hope they eventually wander to bed.
The tables are littered with textbooks, laptops, and dirty cups. Basically just like every surface of my home except it’s all plastic Ninja Turtle thermoses, the stack of mail my husband brings in but never puts away, and the remnants of whatever art project struck my son’s fancy.
There is one person doing all the work. She is moving at breakneck speed to fulfill ridiculous requests. You’d like a 20 oz Holiday Vanilla Mint Mocha with chai foam and a dust of cinnamon? Sure she can do that for you while fielding questions about what part of the country the almond milk was sourced. At my house it’s orange juice in a red cup. Not that red cup. No, not that one either. Yes, that’s the one but don’t fill it too high. And please prepare it while hopping on one foot and would it be too much to make chocolate chip banana pancakes with the bananas you forgot to buy at the grocery store?
Everyone who comes through the door is known. Greetings are shouted. It’s like the bar in Cheers except with glorious caffeine. When you walk through my front door you’re also greeted loudly. Mostly by a barking cocker spaniel and a six year old who’d like to take you to his playroom. Don’t you want to play with his Legos? Please go play with his Legos.
Of course there are five distinct differences that make the coffee shop a mom vacation. My children aren’t there. (I love them like mad but sometimes a mama needs some space.) I don’t have to do any of the order fulfilling. I only have to clean up after myself. My drink looks like a work of leaf art. (At home if it looks like a leaf it’s because my toddler dropped her leaf in it.) And when I’m at the coffee shop my husband is suddenly an excellent communicator. I never receive more texts than when I’m sitting alone for three hours and he’s home with the kids.
If I could wear my pajama pants I swear I’d move in. Just for little bit. Just one more cup and I promise I’ll go home. I wonder if they serve lunch?