I’m sitting in one of my favorite places to read and write, the Bean Cycle in Fort Collins. It’s a coffee shop with a nonprofit bookstore in the back. The bookstore has a loft in the way back, and in the way way back of that loft are a couple of tables. I’m sitting at one of them. I came up here with my coffee, sat down at a table by myself, and started reading (I’ve been slowly making my way through The Second Sex by Simone deBeauvoir). And just as I was getting ready to do some writing, a guy came up and asked me if he could sit.
Now, this table is a big one – in a farmhouse dining room it wouldn’t seem out of place, and could comfortably sit a family of six. And when this guy asked if he could sit, he was asking from the far corner of the table from where I sit, a good eight feet. I said yes. He put his stuff down, then pulled out his laptop’s power cord and plugged it in to the outlets on the floor, on my side of the table. He then pulled his stuff over to my side of the table, and sat down right across from me. Like two feet. Like this, actually:
I’ve been to romantic dinners where I’m seated farther apart from the person I’m with. This makes it really difficult for me to be open enough to do the kind of writing I need to do today. See, I’m an introvert, and I’m new to this writing practice thing too, which makes me doubly self-conscious and protective. So I seek out spaces where I can feel alone in order to do my work.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a place like that at my house. I have a small bedroom, in a house that I share with two other people who have been there for four years (I’ve been five months). The house is essentially theirs, and while I have a bed and a desk in my room that I could write on, as I’ve said in a previous post I seem to need the break in physical space between where I sleep and where I write.
A second guy has now sat at the other corner of the table. Escape seems impossible. And there aren’t even gender/power dynamics at play here. I can only imagine how some guys make women feel in these situations.
So are these things adaptable? Like, can I learn to write in my bedroom comfortably, or in public very close to two dudes I don’t know? They probably are. They probably need to be, too. I don’t have the luxury of personal space whenever I want it. And I can’t use this dude as an excuse to not write.
So, I’ll have to give it a go wherever I am. If anyone has any advice, or things that have worked for them in these situations, please let me know.