Coffeeshop Etiquette (or How to Not Be a Raging Jerkwad in Public)

I’m a freelance writer. My people are nomads by nature. While you whittle your time away in your air-conditioned office with your industrial copy machine and fluorescent lights, we are roaming the streets, scouring for a reliable Wi-Fi connection and a quiet corner so that we can, perhaps, make a buck or two for a cup of coffee.

begger
Freelancer taking a nap

Speaking of coffee, us freelancers pretty much live off the stuff. Day or night, we dump that good ole java into our bodies, hoping that somehow this jolting elixir  will stir the muses into action. More often than not, it just results in a lot of trembling and bathroom breaks.

Just hook it into my veins!

So if we enjoy wi-fi connections, quiet corners and coffee, we naturally flock to coffeeshops. You’ve seen us before. We’re the ones that glare at your from across the cafe the moment you and your friend sit down for a good-natured “catch up” chat. We secretly want to dump a mug of boiling joe on your lap when you answer that cellphone call. We are the ones that type and type and type, nestled in a nest of napkins and cup cozies, a look of manic focus and a hint of soulless fatigue in our eyes.

evil eye
“The freelance stare”

We are a passive aggressive bunch. We’ll never tell you to shut up. We’ll just pray that you choke on your danish. And we’ll pray hard.

So, if you want to avoid our hexes and stay on our pleasant sides (i.e., less agitated sides), you should follow these simple coffeeshop etiquette rules:

  1. Don’t talk to people. Not only does your conversation break our concentration, but your jovial chat is a sorrowful reminder that we have no social skills.
  2. Don’t talk on your phone. We are all listening to you and judging you…very harshly.
  3. Do not slurp, chew loudly or clink your ice. This will make us tear our hair out. And then we’d not only be miserable freelancers, but we’d also be bald.
  4. Do not sit by an outlet if you aren’t going to use it.Freelancers feed off of the electric grid. By denying us an outlet, you are basically starving us. And our measly paychecks already do a pretty good job of that.
  5. Sharing a table does not mean I want to talk to you. If you are at a large table, and I choose to sit at said table, that does not make us friends. It also does not mean I want to hear about you and your day and your estranged family and your lack of a life. I’m not your therapist or your caregiver. If you want a friend, buy a hooker. I’m here to work.
  6. Leave the baby at home. Babies hate coffee. That’s a fact. Don’t believe me? Pour coffee on a baby.
  7. Leave the dog outside. Your dog descended from vicious wolves whose lives were a non-stop battle for survival. Surely, Fluffy can be left on a pole in the middle of Lincoln Park for 10 minutes while you buy a cup of coffee.
  8. Clean up after yourself. We don’t want to have to touch your crusty napkin or used tissue. Please pick up after yourself. The staff will appreciate it as well. 

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