2/15/2019
Hi David! Heart heart heart heart.

Want to feel like you're in a different crowd than you really are? Work in a different coffee shop. It helps that the coffee at Toby's Estate - or, knowing me, it's just a chai latte, because it's two in the afternoon and any caffeine past that time means falling asleep the next morning - is priced the same as Starbucks. It also helps that there's a much better chance there's a spot there with a plug, unlike in the nearby Tim Hortons, which gets full for no reason.

Don't get me wrong. This particular branch gets full. I've worked here a bunch of times - "worked", really, and also, there's no wifi in the place, so you can only do so much - and there are many points in the day when a relatively long queue forms. Mostly take-out orders, though. Not that unusual. Sure, the coffee is better than Starbucks, but, well, we are what unites us, or whatever that is.

But then you realize you're really out of your depth here. Sure, you're wearing an almost full-on business outfit - long-sleeved shirt, coat jacket, no tie - and you're in front of your laptop punching emails about genuinely, I think, important stuff out. But you realize - and you've had this realization before - that you're the only one with a Windows laptop. Everybody else has a Mac, and the looks of that alone make them look like they fit in more.


Well, sure, I have an iPhone. I'm using it as a hotspot. I don't have earphones plugged in. I'm hearing the conversations. It feels particularly rich kid-y. I feel like my half-hearted attempt at being poser - I say that because I genuinely like the chai latte and the many power outlets - is backfiring spectacularly.

To my right are these two ladies. Medical students, I think. They have these thick reviewers for some test. I know it's medicine because I looked it up. One orders a latte and the other settles down with her reviewer filled with notes, written in various shades of fluorescent. She's watching something on her iPad (see, another Apple device), or maybe she's listening to something, because the image doesn't move at all.

"David says hi," the one with the less flashy outfit tells the one with the more flashy outfit.

"Oh, really?" more flashy (and by this I mean a flower pattern) answers.

"Yeah," less flashy, in a slightly Valley Girl accent, says. "He DMed me. Hi. Heart heart heart heart. Hey, tell him, 'hi David! Heart heart heart heart.'"

Less flashy points the phone at more flashy - a video message? A snap? "Hi David!" the latter goes. "Heart heart heart heart." She makes hand hearts - as opposed to finger hearts, because Korean pop culture is so not cultured, riiight - and giggles.

I finally see someone using a Windows PC. He's a programmer. He's clearly coding something. And I'm just, what, sending emails? On this laptop that freezes really often lately and yet is hard to replace? In this upscale coffee shop? Sitting on a table for four? I hope those Chinese tourists who realize there's no available seat and who's eyeing my spot now won't forcibly kick me out, or maybe throw their lattes at me, out of a sense of global entitlement.

I have this seat because, well, it was the only one available, and also, I was waiting for Shalla. We were going on an after-work date, but also, on some sort of business meeting. We're talking stickers. I have made a spreadsheet that would make calculating things better for her. This particular table I'm in was beside a window, and she thought she'd like that seat. Two hours after she arrived, she realized it's not the best seat, as it's really hard to get out of.

Perhaps next time I'll return to Tim Hortons.

And your responses...

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