What’s up? How’s life? You good? I’m good. I’m sitting in a Starbucks right now, the remnants of a sandwich and hot chocolate in front of me, with the express aim of sitting here to write. So, of course, that means I am alone.
And it’s become one of my favourite things to do.
The idea of sitting by oneself in any establishment where people eat or drink is usually seen as a daunting one, something a lot of people generally think isn’t a socially-acceptable thing to do. Mainly these people are those who’ve just never done it themselves. But this year it’s something I’ve done a fair bit, and you realise pretty quick that actually, nobody really cares if you’re sitting alone.
There’s something rather special about sitting alone in a café. Sat on a one-person table, you have the perfect opportunity for endless people-watching. Everyone else who’s there with friends or family or colleagues is too busy with their own conversations and occupations to notice you, and if they do happen to glance at the person sitting alone with a notebook or laptop, the likelihood is they’ll think absolutely nothing of it. Or if they do, it’s probably with some element of jealousy at the idea of sitting alone with a delicious drink and nobody to disturb you.
Sitting alone in a café, you’re free to think your thoughts. It’s one of my favourite environments to write in, for an abundance of reasons. Nobody’s there to disrupt your thoughts, for one. If I look around, there’s all sorts of people and conversations to inspire some element of creativity. Cafés with lots of windows, like the Costa back in my hometown or the Starbucks I’m writing in right now, are even better. Looking out and seeing people pass, talking on the phone, carrying guitars, having conversations with friends, laughing, listening to music… it’s inexplicably addictive. I like watching the cars pass and the light change.
It’s the perfect place to sit with a notebook and pen, or tap away at a laptop completely at my own leisure. The surroundings constantly change, busy to quiet, different people, different conversations. And if I’m lucky, someone near me gets a particularly delicious-smelling Americano. I may not be able to drink coffee, but boy do I like to smell it. Most cafés have comfortable chairs, and they want people to come and sit down. So, they’re usually an especially welcoming place. Nobody wants an empty café.
Cafés are also the perfect place to sit and read. I don’t know about you, but I find reading in complete silence is sometimes actually distracting. Reading while listening to music is often just a lost battle.Reading while in a café, however, with completely irrelevant background noise and easy access to cake and hot chocolate, is brilliant.
I’ll admit I usually don’t sit in a café alone with nothing to do. I don’t find the idea of having nothing to do particularly enthralling, much as other people pine for those times. Alone time in a café is the time to get things done that wouldn’t necessarily be prioritised elsewhere. At home, I’m plagued with distractions from parents. At my flat, I’m plagued with the idea of the dishes in the kitchen or the fact I ought to hoover my floor. In the library, everyone’s there studying and that pretty much translates in my brain as I should be studying too, even if I’m on top of my work.
Being alone in a café is a perfect compromise: I’m not the one doing the dishes, the people around me are doing all sorts of things, and nobody cares to bother me. And that’s why I love it. I’d recommend it to anyone.