Now, in his latest, sold-out book (I have a feeling I'll be referring to a lot of his novels from here on out as "sold out," and that makes me oddly proud), John Scalzi points out that You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing.
The thing is, John, you're wrong. Now, I don't know if this is a major requirement or not, but I am sitting in a brewpub, drinking a bloody mary while watching the Milwaukee River do its best to try and freeze solid, rather than sucking lattes in a coffee shop, and, so far, two waitresses and one curious customer have come up to me to ask me what I'm doing.
"I'm writing a novel," I said, and they seemed oddly impressed and returned to what they were doing. There's even a slight air of nervous intrigue coming from the crashing kitchen, punctuated by the random sizzle of something being seared. It's an odd feeling that, perhaps, they think I'm some sort of enigmatic restaurant critic, and perhaps if I cast a skeptical glance around the place and admire some of the kitsch, I may get a free meal out of this to wash down my bloody mary. After all, in the wise words of an old friend of mine, it's really never a good idea to eat on an empty stomach. Unfortunately, there is a large, clear jug of colorful pepper-infused vodka that seems to have caught my eye at the moment, and as soon as I can look away, I'll try to slap a euphoric veneer on my face, gloss over the eyes, and twist my head randomly around the room to admire my cheesy surroundings.
Now, perhaps if this were a coffee shop, things may be different. I see a lot of trendy citizens with laptops when I pass by the windows, and though most are clicking happily on their mice or touchpad buttons rather than typing, there are some who are actually staring blankly at their screens with a sort of vacant, blank look upon their faces that tells me they are either looking at porn, or they could very well be writing the "great American novel." The look, oddly enough, is not entirely all that different, and if you watch me writing, a lot of my time is spent counting the cursor blinks, while, for all you know, depending on your vantage point, I could be watching a sexy Amish woman in a thong churn butter for a half an hour.
The thing is, not only am I not in a coffee shop, I also seem to be the only person in this place with a laptop in front of him. However, there's a girl sitting at the bar with a satchel that could contain a laptop, but she's wearing red shoes, and it's clear she's most likely waiting for a blind date. She probably told her upcoming suitor that he'd be able to spot her because she'll be the dark-haired girl sitting at the bar with ruby-red heels that stick out like a sore thumb against her black pants. In other words, "Look at my feet first, work your way up my attractive body and stop at my chest since I either have a pimple on my chin or I forgot to wax my unibrow." But I digress...
Where was I?
Oh yes. Though I may not fool someone by taking my laptop to a coffee shop, but here in a brewpub, there's a pretty good chance that I can put one over on the kitchen staff to get some free appetizers while they suck up for a good review of their establishment.
I'll let you know how it all works out. Right now, I've got to get back to "writing my novel."
Enjoy your Saturday, people. After all, February 17th only comes once a year, so get out there and celebrate it.