9/20/10

Miss Mingle and the Three Cafes

One upon a time there was a writer on vacation in a small town who could not find a place to write.  (Okay, let's be clear: The writer in question is me.)

I had been advised (in advance) about the virtues of the supposedly quaint cafe adjoining the library; however, when I got there it was so quiet I could hear my heart beat.  (I'm telling you that, for a New Yorker, the silence was mind-numbing.)  Next I tried a nearby internet cafe which someone in the parking lot had told me about.  I was seduced with talk of three-shot espressos and unlimited internet access; but when I got there the LeAnn Rimes music and the uncomfortable chairs chased me away before I could discover exactly why the broadband I tried to access did not work.  I wandered on and found a jazz club with a patio and a cool day-time coffee clientele; All seemed to be perfect at last--that is, until the two women behind me started to talk in loud voices about parking tickets.

 I left.  I wandered on and on, searching for a place where I could concentrate.  Though the day was gorgeous--sunny, 75 degrees, the area replete with wide open beaches and boardwalk--I could not find a spot that made me happy.  What was wrong--was it me?  Why was I not able to be happy where I was?  We all know the secret to wisdom is to be content where you are (As Emerson said, "We are always getting ready to live, but never living"), and not to always be searching for a better spot.  So why couldn't I light somewhere?

Then I started to worry: Was this a Miss Mingle sickness?  Was this in fact why I took up mingling in the first place?  After all, the art of mingling is considered by many of its critics to be nothing much more than the act of moving superficially from one place to another, during which you avoid a commitment to one conversation, and instead just flit along the surface, so that you can sample here and there, always scoping out the next social opportunity.

"And yet", I thought, as I tromped along Main Street of the town, "What's wrong with trying to better one's experiences?"  What is wrong with trying to soak up everything, make sure we are surrounded by things that encourage our natures?  Why should I stay in a place if I am not comfortable there?  Why should we not go for all the gusto, endeavor to engage in everything we can in the fullest manner possible?  Mindfulness, or living in the moment, does not necessarily mean being content to stay where you are.  Goldilocks did, after all, find the perfect porridge, the perfect chair, and the perfect bed. 

 I finally found the perfect spot to write.  It is in the shade, in an out-of-the-way cafe, in a little corner protected from the winds of Hurricane Igor.  They have wonderful coffee, and easy-to-access internet.  I found an outside table where there is some kind of big green plant waving gently over my head.  Now, I can say that am happy--for the moment.

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