Coffee Shop Neighbor


To my cute coffee shop table neighbor,

It’s me. The scruffy artist guy in flannel sitting at the table next to you. Yes, I do self-describe as scruffy and artist. Girls love that.

Yes, I’ve been coughing loudly, but I have a reason. I need you to notice that I’m writing the next great American novel. I’m a pretty humble guy, so when I say that you’re sitting next to the Vonnegut 2.0 that America needs, I mean it.

I understand that you’re trying to enjoy your latte in peace but you need to know that I ordered an espresso for one express purpose: getting the creative juices flowing. I actually call espresso Creative Juice in my head.

Anyway, if you’ve been peeking at my laptop as much as I hope you have, you might have noticed that I’m on chapter 3 already. I strategically angled my laptop in your direction so you could see that I changed my font to typewriter. Impressive, huh? If you took the time to ask me about this book, I’d lean in real close tell you I’ve been writing this book for a month. If we continued talking, your beauty might get me feeling vulnerable. Then I’d admit I’ve actually been trying to write this book on and off for three years. I don’t know what it’s about, but I like the feeling of accomplishment I get upon uttering the words, “Well, I actually am writing a book.”

Please take an interest in my work so that I can tell you that I entitled this chapter, “The Reason I Don’t Owe Anybody Anything (Ode to Silence).” I have a sudden urge to drone on about titles with parentheticals, so please indulge me. You absolutely need to know that the next chapter will make no sense in context because I’ve decided to devote it to my dog. It will be called MelanCOLLIE. I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense to you because art doesn’t need to make sense to everyone.

Look! Do you see how quickly my hands are typing away? I’m such a fast typer, and it’s because I do this a lot. I’m running my life-changing ideas by a writer’s forum. That’s how hip, humble, and unafraid of plagiarism I am—I still use forums.

Divine inspiration—that’s what coffee is. If you actually took an interest in the work, you would be able to tell just from talking to me that I’m exactly the kind of brilliant that overuses dashes in writing. You might also be able to gather that I enjoy using the word “ampersand” while speaking simply to confuse people. My mannerisms are quite charming, really.

My mannerisms are so charming, in fact, that I simply cannot believe you and your latte are impervious to them.

Ohh—so preoccupied in my thoughts, I finally snuck another look at you. And now I understand. You are writing in a notebook, with your hands. Apologies for disturbing a fellow artist. I’m always around if you want to grab coffee.


The fashionably scruffy artist guy sitting at the table next to you

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