Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I Am "That Guy"

Not so long ago, it occurred to me that I had become “that
guy” at my local coffeehouse. I’m there roughly every third
day, I tend to sit in the same general area, I seldom speak
with anyone, and I spend hours hunched over my battered
legal pad, scribbling out stories and blog posts and whatever
else. I must look like a lunatic and it’s my penmanship that’s
most responsible for this: it isn’t just tiny, it’s crazy-person
tiny. I can make anything look like a paranoiac’s manifesto,
complete with violent scratch-outs, margin scrawls, and
strange patterns of arrows and swirly lines. To see me
scratching away at this with my pen clutched tight in my fist
and a ring of cappuccino around my lips, one most likely
wouldn’t think, “Oh, look at the dedicated aspiring author
diligently working at his craft!”. No, no, they’d think,
“There’s that guy again...”

I’m learning to be cool with this. Granted, I have the
same rampaging ego as many artsy-types–I’m flattered
to be considered mad, but only if I’m considered mad in
the right sort of way. I want to elegantly alienated and
appealingly eccentric, not the sort that scrawls out his
every delusion in obsessive detail while wearing a jaunty
pirate’s cap and mumbling mean things at passing teen-
agers. There is, however, one benefit that comes from
being mistaken for the latter–people leave you alone.
I like social intercourse as much as the next guy, but I
don’t go to the coffeeshop to chat with other coffeeshop
types. I go there to write. It’s a place where I can get
things done without being distracted by my CD collection,
the internet, or that stack of dirty dishes stinking up my
sink. If I have to look like an escaped mental patient to
be productive, so be it...