Anyone who has been in a café in the past five years has more than likely noticed the surge of college-aged kids sitting there for hours, sipping coffee and typing away on their laptops. Specifically Macbooks. After Apple swept the Mp3 market with the iPod, there was really no looking back as far as Apple gadgets go. I didn’t understand it at first. My freshman year of college I had a super sweet U2 iPod (I liked it cause it was black–this was in the white-only iPod days….wow, that sounds kind of racist) which I toted around everywhere, but I also had a massive HP laptop that persisted on making jungle noises. I’m not kidding about that last part–at one point I set the theme to dinosaur or jungle or something and even though I switched it back, occasionally it sounded like monkeys had been trapped inside the screen and were shrieking to get out. And even though it was cumbersome and slow and in the end had no battery life to speak of so always had to be plugged in, I loved it. Many of my friends had Macbooks and I thought they were terrible and didn’t make any sense and I hated how you never seemed able to make anything fullscreen.
But as freshman year continued, and my dinosaur HP continued to decline, I grew more and more enamored of the Macbook. It turned out it was svelte and put together ingeniously and light and compact and I wanted hot corners real bad. Once the HP sputtered its last monkey-shrieking breath, I asked my parents for a Macbook for Christmas. I had capitulated. And I’ve never looked back.
I’m currently typing this on my second Macbook. Almost all of my friends have Macs. Gavin has an HP and it’s odd but I find myself having to shift my brain to navigate it. I can’t use hot corners? I have to click on bottom tabs? What?? His is a great computer and it’s lasted him many years and I’m honestly not saying anything bad about it (although it, too, has begun to make odd noises). I’m just so used to my computer and how it all works that I don’t think I’d ever buy a non-Mac again.
This has turned into a sort of love letter to my Mac. And yes, I use it everyday and yes, sometimes I call it baby and yes, sometimes I soothe it and tell it I love it, but I do the same thing with my first cup of coffee of the day. I wouldn’t be surprised if my coffee and my Mac became jealous of each other, since I often have my first cup while puttering away on my computer.
Lately I had a conversation with a friend who said that sitting in a café with a Macbook was a hipster thing that has become so mainstream. He said it had become the new equivalent of being cool in high school. As someone who wasn’t considered cool unti the very end of high school (and thank goodness–the majority of the “cool” kids in my school were terrible…it was a prep school, which should explain a lot), I’d like to think that sitting in my local favorite café with my computer makes me cool. But I don’t think it does. When I first started doing it, it was just what we did. There was one café in my college town (Middle Ground–I know, right??) and we would go there to do homework. But we’d also go to the library, or stay in our rooms, or any of the other great homework locations Kenyon provided. But if you wanted a constant supply of coffee while you worked, Middle Ground was the place to go. Which is probably why the café-computer phenomenon has happened–when you’re working, you want to be awake, and there’s no better way to wake up than guzzling caffeine.
I love working in cafés with my computer. I don’t care if people think I’m a hipster or cool or too mainstream to be either hipster or cool. It’s something I like to do and sometimes it’s a great way for me to work. Not always–sometimes it’s too distracting. And even though I can make my own coffee, sometimes it’s nice to go out and work in a bustling environment. It makes the non-social aspect of writing more sociable.
This is meant neither as a rant against people who hate on us who work in cafés nor as a rant to against people who never do it. There are lots of ways to work on a computer and lots of ways to drink coffee without a computer. I do them both very often. As a matter of fact, I’m sitting on a couch at my house while I write this and I’m drinking wine, not coffee. So THERE. Blowing up expectations right and left.