I have never been one to go out alone. My anxiety is an uneasy beast woman. However, if you recall, I am no longer allowing her to take charge of my life anymore.
I usually listen to her when she says, “If you go out alone, Lauren, you will be awkward. People will look at you funny. You will say something stupid. You will look like a loner. An oddball.”
I am on a mission to erase my negative thoughts.
I have always wanted to walk to Jo’s coffee on a regular basis, make Sunday mornings at Jo’s with my laptop my church. If you have never visited Austin, Jo’s is an iconic coffee shop, located outside, next to the hotel San José. I live only a couple of blocks away, and I can stroll down the equally iconic South Congress alongside tourists and other regulars. Besides, I have always believed that writing is my religion, and if anything at all, my meditation. My previous negative thoughts have always told me I would look like a wanna be, one of those coffee shop writers, who never writes alone and fakes it to get attention. But do any of them do this to seek attention? Maybe they are like me. Maybe they just need a change of scenery. To get out of the house. To allow their mind more space, rather than the regular confines of their apartment walls.
So, it is a lovely day in Texas. Summers are long here, but today is one of the first days the air is bearable. The sun is out, but the breeze is stronger, without blowing my locks into my eyes and mouth. It’s cool without being cold, which a day of cold to Texans is probably the day Northerners dust off their bathing suits and lay out on the rooftops with foil on cookie sheets nesting on their breasts. It feels good. So I swallowed my negative thoughts, and here I sit, alone with my laptop and an Iced Turbo, a sugary asshole of a coffee drink. I purchased a pack of American Spirits at the counter. The teal pack. The woman behind the counter argued with the man who handed them to me, “You just said ‘teal’, it’s just blue.”
“Yeah, but it’s not just blue, it’s a blue-green. It’s teal,” he said.
“What would you call the yellow pack?” she asked.
“Canary yellow. No, school bus yellow.”
I agreed with the man; I prefer the creative underdog. The woman jokingly said I was mean. I smiled and tucked the cigarettes into my bag. I’m not a regular smoker. In fact, I had no clue what the difference was between the blue… ahem, teal pack and the school bus yellow pack was, but I’m about stepping outside of my grey… ahem, cloudy grey box these days. Judge me, see if I care. Ahahaha!
I care. I’m a terrible liar.
I shoveled down a couple of their famous breakfast tacos and cracked open the lid of my ancient Mac. We have been together forever. He and I are constantly fighting, but we always make up. The make up is always the best.
Sorry, I’m a sucker for long-winded analogies. And just you wait, I’m not done. I’m never done.
I’ve actually forgotten that I am not alone. There are families with their dogs. Couples with their noisy children. And other loners with their laptops, or The New York Times, and teal or school bus yellow packs of cigarettes. Some have on bike gear and are resting after their Sunday ride.
My next feat is coming here again. For some reason, I have other negative thoughts that arrive when I appear somewhere as a regular. “Oh, look, there she is again. The loner and her ancient laptop. Does she not have a better place to go? Really?” I know. My subconscious is a mean girl. She is also very unreasonably judgmental.
Now it’s getting crowded and a woman nearby is acting out a big scene. Apparently, there is no place to sit. “Should I get up? She’ll see that my coffee is empty. The foil from my tacos are wadded up and resting beside the now only open container on my table… my boyfran, Mac. He’s now turned red and is alerting me that it’s time to recharge. He doesn’t last very long anymore, if you know what I mean.
Today is that woman’s lucky day.
And now I’m back home, writing on my patio, underneath the leaning tree, the one I wrote about in my Freshly Pressed post, the one that everyone probably refers to when they say they have no clue how some of the “shit” makes its way there. Oops, some negative thoughts are more stubborn than others. Strange thing. The tree is not leaning so much today. It seems to be correcting itself and growing more upright, towards the sun. It’s funny how that tree is still somehow a metaphor for my life.
Ah, there she is. Still a little unsure of her direction, but she’s finding her way.