Earlier this year, I started my own consulting business, working out of my home (and much of the time in cyberspace). It’s been a blast so far, though there have been inevitable adjustments – mostly to do with when Jane and the kids are around and either a) want/need my attention; or b) are adjusting to the fact I’m here and in the way!
All in all, though, I’m loving my free agent life – work that plays directly to my strengths and which doesn’t carry a political overhead/tax, writing when I feel like it about whatever, playing music at any time of the day and not just after everyone else is in bed.
I’d travelled enough in my former life to be able to hot-desk in any situation – Karaoke Criminals was mostly written in Heathrow airport, a Virgin Atlantic plane and in US hotels – and when I stepped out on my own, I fully expected to be working anywhere I felt like it. Which has mostly been the case. Until this morning.
The girls are doing summer camp about 10 miles away each morning this week and dropping them off for 9am, it doesn’t make much sense to come home just to turn around and head back over to pick them up at 11.45am. So, this morning, I packed my laptop up, planning to spend the morning in a Starbucks near to the summer camp, just working and writing before heading home.
All was going to plan, until I turned from the counter with my coffee.
Every seat/table was taken. By retirees and baby boomers, reading their daily newspapers. One table in the corner had two guys with laptops doing some work
[though, in all truth, they looked like Jehovah’s Witnesses, plotting a course on Google maps]
but otherwise, this Starbucks had become the very modern equivalent of the old school pensioner’s drop-in centre.
Which is fine; they paid for Starbucks’ service and facilities just like I did.
Still, I couldn’t help feeling affronted somehow – and, like any other human being, I did a quick assessment of how many multi-person tables had only one person sitting there – maybe if I’d been more awake, and practicing some true community-spirit, I might have asked to join them – but as I needed to get some work and writing done, I didn’t. I took my coffee out and walked back to my car, inwardly grumbling all the time that my plans had been stifled by Starbucks not being available for me.
I briefly considered going to sit by the river and working, but the humidity was bad, mosquitos out in force and I wouldn’t have been able to clearly read my laptop’s screen in the daylight. So, in the end, I smiled, got in the car and headed home, letting the bad feelings trail out in the wake of my car.
Maybe this is what we’ve got to look forward to as the Baby Boomers retire and decide to use their free time – maybe everywhere will be flooded with these grey-haired folk, passing time and using up space. Part of that makes me feel like the still-living in George Romero’s ‘Dawn of The Dead’ where zombies wander around a shopping mall, not so far from their existence before they became undead. Is that destiny for those of us who are trying to build a life beyond the baby-boom masses? Or am I just over-reacting because I didn’t get what I wanted immediately when I wanted it?
I’m honest enough to say it’s more of the latter than the former.
I can be such a whiner sometimes.
Ah well, at least I got to write at home.
Peace, love, happiness and understanding,