Saturday, September 08, 2007

Home, by any other name...

I'm curled up in one of the armchairs, a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream cradled in my hands, reading my Anne Sexton. My laptop stands open in readiness for me the write the speech-du-jour, but I'm lost in the words. All around me, there are meetings happening, interviews happening, people discussing business plans, a few chatting over a coffee.

Starbucks. My new home. My new office. I am alone. I feel part of the crowd. Pretty people. Sexton talking to me from the pages. I disappear into her words.

An hour later I emerge from the torpor and tap out a few words on my screen. No cigar. So I pull out a notebook and write out an affirmation. This is the speech I want to write. This is how long I want it to be. This is how long I want to take to write it. This is how I want it to sound. Got it? Good. I rewrite the affirmation a few times to drive home the point.

Then get back to the screen.

I need some music.

Out comes the trusty iPod. There's Michael Buble singing Home followed by Amici Forever's So Far Away. How particularly apposite.

The model nearby is showing his portfolio to an agent. She has brown streaks in her hair and looks like she was once a model too. Pretty. She asks him if he's attached and he hems and haws and pretends. Finally admits to a girlfriend in Thailand. He's told that he must, under no circumstance, betray that he is already girlfriended if he is to take this job. It would offend his fans. He seems obssessed with a particular Korean model called Rain. Turns out, his girlfriend is obssessed with Rain.

I glance at his vapid pretty face and wonder if he would have fans and if they would be so dumb. But yes, fans are undiscerning after all. Once they decide to obssess about you, they will obssess about you.

I should know. Look at my boss. Four appearances in a reality TV show, in which he never smiled, spoke stiffly and calmly jumped down the contestants' throat for a misstep, and he has acquired a fan base. He has a boyish face and he's pretty smart, but even he's disturbed and amazed at the reaction of these girls. (We stumbled on a chat site that has discussed everything from his eye colour to underwear size).

So anyway, fans will be fans. Empty inside and seeking to fill the emptiness with some idol's perceived perfection. Ah well. Haven't I done it like a million times myself?

Feet of clay, Hal my boy, feet of clay.

So anyway, now I have my affirmation set, I start tapping with purpose. The speech emerges on the screen. I read a few times, edit, and think it's time to give myself a break. A barrista has come up to clear the tables. I smile winningly at her and ask if I can just order from where I'm sitting.

Sure, Ma'am, she winks. I wink back. I love this place. My new office. A little expensive (you can't get a simple drink for under RM10 and my parking comes up to nearly RM20 when I spend the whole day there) but you know, you gotta give something, to get something.

So it's back to Sexton and I feel my heart twist and turn as I follow her words, without wine, without artifice, telling it like it is. My friends wonder why I'm so obssessed by this suicidal poet. I think, suicidal poet forsooth. She was a poet. And that's what matters.

I want to get a book of Lorca. And his In Search of Duende. Love. Darkness. Love. And the world spins on...

Then it's back to the computer screen. This time, I've got to look at my boss's comments to incorporate into the second speech. His speech. I do it in about 10 minutes. Then it's back to Sexton. In between, of course, I check my Facebook to look at the Status Updates and see what all my friends are up to and what new applications they have loaded. It makes me feel connected somehow. In between, I answer all the emails coming to me from the office. I edit what they ask me to edit, unearth old files they ask me to unearth and send on.

And I think, all you need is a wifi connection, some good coffee, your Facebook, a book of poetry.

Who wants my job?


that girl in pink said...

glad you found your little haven in starbucks.

and talking of facebook...:)

goldennib said...

Me, me, me (waves hands in the air.) I want to do my write at Starbucks.

I've taken to running to the library at lunchtime. Not exactly the same, but it feels more writerly than sitting in my car. Starbucks is too far away.

Of course, I didn't go anywhere this week. A few days off require the price of giving up lunch until I'm caught up.

Jenn said...

Hallo Pink! Nice to have found you there! :)

Nessa: You probably have a real job. Me, I'm just pretending and everyone around is playing along...:)

Marge said...

:) Your work life sounds lovely.

And yes...Facebook...!!!

Jenn said...

Hehe, thanks. Some times, it actually IS lovely.

Facebookaholics of the world unite!

goldennib said...

Are you game? Please play with me.

jackie's garden said...

Glad you are enjoying your new 'office' - sounds fun. Of course, I'd get side tracked 'people watching' and probably not get much done. :-)

Jenn said...

Starbucks is kind of the perfect place to work for me...outside yet inside yet outside...

Hot Coffee Girl said...

Who do you think you are talking too?! Starbuck's is the mother ship. And Facebook? Yeah. You already know how all about that I am.

Were we separated at birth, love?

Jenn said...

Possibly...same year and all that.