When Dorothy clicked her heels and uttered, “There’s no place like home,” I’m fairly sure she had never been to a coffee shop. “Home is where the heart is.” True, but cafés are where the coffee is, and that’s a toss up, really.
Mention that you just spent an hour by yourself at a coffee shop to any mom, and watch her swoon like you told her you had been served a 4 course meal on fine china. With the Queen. And Ryan Gosling. You did it. You reached the pinnacle of Paradise. You spent time alone, just you and hot coffee.
Coffee that’s above room temperature, some kind of zucchini walnut muffin thing I never would have been able to figure out on my own, not wiping anyone’s butt with my other hand, what’s not to love?
And it’s quiet. Sure, there are grown ups talking, arguably terrible music, and coffee grinding, but as fellow parents know, that’s not noise. That is the soundtrack of Freedom! Fighting, yelling, toys bought by someone who must hate me, the Peppa Pig theme song for the 18th time in a row, cereal hitting the floor, my name being repeated like it’s the new Bieber hit, that’s noise. Coffee shop ambiance, no, that’s not noise, that is blissful, unadulterated, peace.
And the coffee. You just have to ask for it, and it appears, like caffeinated magic. A little (or giant!) cup of sanity, placed right into my hand by Nature’s peacekeepers, the baristas.
And oh, baristas, how we love you. We don’t care if you spell our names with seven extra vowels, you could label our cups “Shithead” and we would still gladly accept it. Bringers of the coffee, offerers of the muffin, thanking us for accepting your cup of joy. We salute you, brave fighters in the war on fatigue.
Coffee shop chairs hug my ass in ways my couch never could. “Come sit on me,” they beckon. “I promise no one will jump on you and try to eat your hair.” I stake my claim on the fabric cube of awesomeness, and I don’t move for at least an hour. You have to be territorial at coffee shops, every butt for themselves.
There are days I spend six hours here. Working? Hiding? A little bit of both? One day, I may test the limit for how long I can stay before being declared a squatter. No one blinks an eye. The baristas do not make a move to encourage me to go. They know. They know.
Sometimes, friends might gather, sharing laughs, catching up, but those little love-ins have nothing on the solo coffee shop trip. Friends are nice and all, adult interaction and all that, but they require effort that being alone on my soft cube, with my happiness cup does not ask of me.
Coffee does not talk to me. For this, I am grateful. But I can tell how it’s feeling. There it sits, looking at me in awe of my brilliance, thinking, There you are, you magnificent beast, woman of my dreams. Look at you sitting there, doing nothing, like a Goddess. You sit there and let that chair hug your ass, mmm. Check that Facebook for the 27th time like the stunning creature you are.
There may come a day I don’t need you so much, Coffee Shop. There may come a day when my children play quietly, I can finish a cup of coffee in the same hour I started it, and no one pokes me in the eye when I least expect it, but until then, I will keep coming back to you. My haven. My mistress. My home that is quieter than home. I love you, Coffee Shop. You complete me.
Heather M. Jones is a mom of two, wife of one, and writer of things. She spends her time alternating between browsing Pinterest-perfect recipes, and eating icing off a spoon. Follow her https://heathermjoneswriter.wordpress.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hmjoneswriter, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/hmjoneswriter.