Not going to lie, I was always secretly envious of hipster life style. Creatives in London aren’t penniless artists living in the attic with no hot water or heating. Many so called freelance artists are actually doing much better than me on my 9 to 5. They are the breed of adults who represent everything we can’t have, this way pushing us into the abyss of perpetual bitterness about everything they do: wearing overpriced clothes by some unknown designer, living in fancy East London apartments, attend cool invite-only exclusive parties, have great taste and most important – freedom. Despite constantly living a risk of going through the dry spell of no work, they still wear the badge saying “I have a fabulous life-style” which majority of us don’t .
Ok, so may be they don’t have to work in the office, but that doesn’t mean they never work. In fact, lots of them spend sleepless nights polishing an artwork, getting professional traumas from holding a pen for too long or developing substance abuse problems. The difference – they have a choice of not working in the office. How many times have you walked past Starbucks and smirked at a bearded hipster staring at his Macbook screen as if they were looking at the sunset in the Great Canyon? Q “How did hipster burn his tongue?” A “He sipped his coffee before it was cool”.
Working in cafes has been a thing of every great writer of the 20th century. Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Sartre and many other great authors of the last century were spending most of their working hours in Paris Cafes. They were probably smirked at just as much. There’s no easy way to remain uncriticised in the world where people are selling their time for money, as opposed to selling their skill. Since we settled the fact that it’s essential for the writer to have a space for creativity, we can move on to my part time office in Islington.
London is know for overly polite customer service. I mean whoever ever visited Britain, politeness is the key to successful communication. Although saying “sorry” when being stepped on is not unusual, British people love to maintain an aura of a true gentleman of people because if we don’t – we’d be Paris. Speaking of which, customer service in France is slightly less tolerant and I actually don’t mind it when I’m in Paris. Rude service in London is less common but it happens and when it does, we shake our heads in disapproval at the audacity of guy or girl who has just spilled a drop of your £20 bottle of wine and didn’t spend last 20 minutes apologising about it or offering you a drink voucher.
Finding a right ambience for writing in London isn’t easy, especially on the weekend. If you are lucky enough to find a cafe which isn’t crowded with push chairs, does not hold exorcism sessions, and which is open till at least 9pm, consider yourself a lucky guy or gal. So I did find one cafe called Emporium – a simplistic cafe/ bakery which offers overpriced coffee and delicious apple pies, as well as good music and comfortable amount of lighting. Speaking of anal habits… It would be perfect if not for the slightly less perfect treatment from the male staff. From my own experience of working in customer service, I am well aware that smiling and being polite, when it’s not your natural state, can be a real pain in the arse, especially if you have been out the night before. It is also impossible to make somebody feel good, when, just like me, you have not control of your facial expression.
This place has forgotten my orders, openly ignored me while checking their phones, all of the above was also greeted with an attitude as I attempted to show my dissatisfaction. I know that complaining is not going to make a difference, plus it’s not a life or death situation. At the end of the day we all have bad days and unfortunately for me, there are few individuals who seem to be falling in a bad mood every time they see me. May be it’s my face. I know it’s my face. The question is, why do I keep on coming back? Like in a bad romance, we stick around for two reasons – because it was good once and you believe it will get better. Going through the effort of looking for another cafe, which ticks almost all boxes,will take time and effort, which I rarely have. So as a desperate woman in a bad relationship, I keep on coming back more. All’s fair in love and writing as I say. For the time being I get the job done and just today I was given a free coffee from the server who frankly looked like he’d rather be responding to that text on Tinder than actually speaking to me, but it’s ok. We’ve all been there. Just keep that coffee coming mate.