It’s a familiar scene: people hanging out, alone or with friends, in coffee shops to pass the time. Those by themselves maybe waiting for a friend or a loved one. Some people may only drop by for a quick coffee-to-go to start their day. Some people would perhaps be just enjoying the free wi-fi or airconditioning on a warm afternoon. Or they maybe groups of people just hanging out after a pig-out dinner or a long night of partying.
You may fall under a different group of people: those who wanted to stay in a coffee shop to pass the time and “upgrade” your social status. Indiscriminately bragging that one has the resources to buy drinks that costs the same as 2 to 3 liters of unleaded gasoline, a kilogram and a half of dressed chicken from the supermarket, or close to 4 bags of instant ground coffee.
Me, I belong to any group mentioned (yes, I sometimes get the feeling that I’m regarded as belonging to a well-to-do family, buying coffee with enough money to feed 2 thrifty yuppies for lunch from jollijeeps). But I would much rather be part of this next group of people: those who go to coffee shops to be productive.
Now, I’m not saying that hanging out with friends or just passing the time in coffee shops is counter productive. Productivity is very subjective, as in the previous statement, productivity is achieved by having stronger bonds with friends, or getting some “me” time to recharge.
What I meant about being productive in a coffee shop is very much work related. See, coffee shops are neutral meeting places, where two parties can meet to discuss business or sometimes politics. I go to a coffee shop to change my work environment, my productivity spot. I sometimes go there for inspiration. I order coffee or sometimes just the bottled drinks, to give me a “right” to stay inside. Armed with a laptop, and seated near an electrical outlet, I’d work away. Zoning out from the chatter of other officers, but delighting on the soothing aroma of coffee.
One of my favorite things to do in a coffee shop is when I just have a pen and paper with me to write, or a good book to read. I’d completely rid myself of technology and pass the time writing reflections or reading inspiring stories. But for now, i’m using my phone to write this, so I’m not completely technology-free. It may be distracting for some people to be surrounded by “noisy” people, but for me, I’m not easily bothered, as I have my pen and notebook to zone out. I would sometimes just look outside the window and think about nothing.
I can also even say that my time in a coffee shop is also time for the Lord. I would seek inspiration in a coffee shop while writing my reflections, dreaming about the future, and communing with God. I zone out, listening to worship songs, practicing leading the congregation, or just studying how to sing a certain song. I don’t feel alone in a coffee shop even if I’m by myself because it’s an opportunity for me to just bask in God’s love even if I’m not in an actual place of worship. It gives meaning to the statement that God is everywhere. For me, at all times I’m there, God is in the coffeeshop.