There’s a new order these days ever since I’ve had wheels, which is to take care of my travel article researching/pitching in the mornings, then head to a coffee shop in the centro to work on my writing – the real writing, the fiction, the thing I’m here to do in the first place. This does not appear to be a done thing where I live; I imagine it’s different in the bigger cities, but it would appear that the aspiring artist-in-caffè trend hasn’t yet hit Culonia. There’s no WiFi in the caffè I frequent- which means that I can actually get work done – and there’s just me on my laptop, clacking away, as the people trickle in and out, in and out. They get their coffee, or their snack platters of olives, chips, and panini. Their mugs of dark melted chocolate; sweet soup for crunchy biscotti. Me? I get an aranciata – orange soda – or a pot of tea if I’m feeling saucy.
I usually work for three hours – as long as my laptop battery lasts. Italian pop plays on the sound system; a TV overhead. Rain and more rain outside, making the streets slick. Inside, I get casual stares; is it because I’m the only one with a laptop or the only one not drinking caffeine? Sometimes I recognize a face, but usually I don’t which is good, because I’m supposed to be getting work done, after all. And I write. Not my novel, as it turns out, even though that’s what I’m here to do. Lately, all I want to do is write short stories. And there are loads of them. And they all fall under a theme (!). Surely that can’t be awful, can it? Even if my novel cries out in thirst?
When I leave, the man at the till always says: You had the aranciata, right?
Here it is.
And then: Get much work done today?
Today was a success. Thank you.
How writers ever got anything done before caffès, I have no clue.