Yesterday, I stopped for a hot chocolate and a few minutes of quiet work in between one meeting and another. By the time I sat down and opened my computer, I realized something very odd was going on. For the first time I can remember, I was the one and only person in the coffee shop with a laptop. This was not some computer-free zone in which I was breaking the rules. On the contrary. I do some of my best writing in locations of this very same cafe (Blenz), where they serve my favourite dark hot chocolate (skim, extra hot, if you please). But on this particular afternoon, the place was fairly busy, with about 2/3 of the tables and all the comfy chairs taken, and not one other person was working on a computer or even a smart phone. Every single one of them was doing one of four things: reading actual paper books or magazines; sipping a beverage and staring into space; jotting things in a paper notebook; or talking to actual human beings. The first and last of those were the most popular activities. I felt kind of guilty sitting there with my computer.
But I think what struck me most about it was that it was so noticeable. Has it really become so unusual for us to sit and talk to people in a coffee shop without benefit of sharing what we’re looking at on Youtube? To have a conversation that doesn’t involve stopping to check the notifications on our phones? To go out in public and read books that smell deliciously of paper and ink? Probably not. If I look around any coffee shop I’m in, I see people doing all of those things. But it was very strange to see no technology in evidence at all.
In other news, I’ve seen some great links in the last week or so. Most of them, naturally, I forgot to take note of to share them with you, but here are a few, at least:
http://wellfesto.com/2013/11/19/10-things-i-want-my-daughter-to-know-about-working-out/ My daughter figured out really young the connection between exercise and feeling good. As we navigate the treacherous teenage years, I hope she can hold onto the idea of strong and healthy being the most important things. This post sums that up nicely.
If you’re a writer, you’ll probably relate to several of these: http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/14-ways-to-tick-off-a-writer/
Are you attempting to make writing a priority during the craziness that is December for most of us? Why not commit to Nephele Tempest’s December writing challenge? http://nepheletempest.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/december-writing-challenge/