Revisiting the Leaning Tree.

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.

15 thoughts on “Revisiting the Leaning Tree.

  1. If Jo’s on Sunday mornings is your church, then I think when you are recognized as a fixture there, your presence will be analogous to a stained glass window. Nobody questions the appropriateness or beauty of a stained glass window in a church. In fact, more is better. Enjoy!!

  2. Go you, once again. I too love coffee shops and always want to go in and write … but lack the courage. You might be my inspiration for this as well.
    And uh, WOAH, you are stunningly gorgeous. I knew you would be … but dang. Okay, now I just sound like a creeper.

  3. This is the first time I have been to your blog so I do not know if you have more posts, but one thing is for sure; I love your style of writing, and I really enjoyed reading this post! I am definately a follower now haha, cant wait to read more of your blog! :D

  4. As an ex waitress and barista I can tell you regulars are great, as long as you aren’t one of those snit-picky, whiny, nothing is ever right and you don’t tip ones.
    I love going out alone. You can do the best people watching alone! I go to coffee shops, restaurants, the movies. I’m one of those that get asked “The usual?” I love it! I get great service, it doesn’t hurt that I tip well too. I long ago learned to love going alone. I eat in bars alone too, because the service is usually faster for a single. But I don’t go out drinking alone, only because I don’t drink often and it is one thing to eat in the bar and another to be alone drinking in a bar. I used to be a bartender too.
    I hope you become a regular at Jo’s and a few other places that can inspire you to write.

  5. Coffeeshops were invented solely for we writer types. It gives us a chance to observe and allow us to chalk up a friendly smile exchange as our having been “social”. :)

  6. I am a solo loiterer in many coffee shops and even restaurants, especially since I am teaching abroad and don’t know too many people –though I also did this plenty at home as well, I have kids– and I don’t think that most people really notice or care all that much…it did take me a while to get used to it and I still have some awkward moments, but the more you do it, the more comfortable and normal it will seem. For me, it is always the change of scenery that is needed. Grading endless papers / writing / prepping / answering emails in the same place is enough to make you lose your mind. Stick with it!

  7. Pingback: The Sunday List: What I Want in a Man. | ardent & awkward / in a u s t i n

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