Mr. Waterpolo and Mr. Fuchsia

Once more I find myself in this wonderful coffee shop, in the same seat with a soft burgundy pillow behind me. I’ve finished drinking the first gigantic mug of hot chocolate for today, and am ready to keep on writing. Today the atmosphere of this place is different though. A waterpolo athlete is sitting in front of me wearing his team shirt proudly, and staring at his computer screen. He has headphones in, but hasn’t realized that they aren’t plugged in to the computer, so every half hour or so a youtube video blares out from his speakers in the loud voices so often associated with infomercials, but this time in Serbian. The room is filled with younger people sitting in every available armchair or high stool, with the exception of the other by my table so inconspicuously occupied by my overflowing backpack. The other odd one out in this cube is an older man with flowing shoulder-length grey hair and a fuchsia sweater. But somehow despite his sagging skin and the weaving maze of veins that crisscross his hands, he strikes me as more alive than most of the fresher faces lost in the glow of their phone or computer screens.

So it’s half past noon, already, and although I’ve been awake for over four hours it feels like my body is only just catching up to the ebb and flow of the day. Time to blast some music and get down to it, ignoring the Serbian blaring out from Mr. Waterpolo’s speakers, and ignoring the academic chatter from the table of two maybe 19 year old girls, and of course ignoring the blasts of hot hair from the cappuccino (a word I still always misspell) machine.


Have you ever found that when you allow too much time to write and set too much of it aside, you don’t approach your task with urgency and discipline? That’s a little of what I’m feeling today. I have at least four glorious, uninterrupted hours left, even though I’ve been here for more than two so far, and the first words of the day have not yet graced the word document containing my current magnum opus.

A barely eaten salad rests on the table by me, fuel primed for the vicious attack of the munchies that strike when you’ve been plucking at a keyboard for so long that you don’t notice how many seconds, or hours, have ticked by. But I’m not hungry. I’m filled with a lethargic sleepiness and keep yawning wider and wider as each song passes.

Time to shake it off, to open the document and crack on, especially as the man in fuchsia has finished his drink and departed, leaving this high ceilinged cube just that little bit duller.


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