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I like to study in a coffeeshop

By Beverly Cook,2014-07-09 09:33
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I like to study in a coffeeshop

ROUGH DRAFT

    I like to study at The Rat’s Nest, which is a small coffeeshop near my house. I usually go there by myself with my backpack and books. There is a Starbucks, too, but I don’t like it as much. I know the waitstaff at the Rat’s Nest and sometimes they give me a coffee on

    the house.

     The Rat’s Nest used to be a movie theater years ago. It’s been converted it so that the old balcony level is still be used for movies. The orchestra level has been sealed off and is now a coffee shop and study area. From my seat downstairs, I can’t hear the movie,

    but I can tell when one is playing because that is the only time they make popcorn. The smell of popcorn floods the whole building and makes me feel hungry.

     The coffeeshop part of the Rats Nest is still furnished like a 1940’s movie theater.

    It has huge overstuffed chairs, mismatched coffee tables, and rich dark tapestries hanging on the walls. The area behind the coffee bar is surrounded with mirrors to make the space look bigge. The red and orange colors make it feel warm and cozy even when it is freezing outside. No matter what the temperature, I always order my coffee hot. My favorite drink is a double mocha with whipped cream, which I order at the counter and then take to my table. The cool sweetness of the whipped cream mixes with the hot bitterness of the coffee to make a perfectly balanced drink.

     When it’s time for me to study, I like to take my reading to the table that is in the corner farthest from the coffee bar. Most people don’t like to sit there because it is a

    single table, isolated in the back. My table is quiet, except that it’s right near the bathrooms, so people brush by me every few minutes. I put my backpack under the table. I carry it with me every night, even if I really only need one book. I like to be prepared. I put a pencil and a pen and a highlighter on the table. I turn off my cell phone; if I don’t,

    I’m almost guaranteed to get caught in a conversation with someone. It’s uncomfortable

    being disconnected but I have to do it if I want to work. Then I curl up in my chair (which has a rounded back), and I start to read. The round wooden table in front of me is too low to work at, so the whole situation is rather awkward physically, but I don’t mind. I’m warm, comfortable, and happy, and my mocha is delicious.

     On the wall directly opposite my chair is a reproduction of The Eruption of Vesuvius by Sebastian Pether. The print shows the eruption of an enormous volcano, which is centered on the painting. The colors of the painting match the warmth of the walls and the furnishings of the coffeehouse. The painting is incredibly powerful, with a bright orange stream of lava running down the side of the volcano towards a lake. The people in the foreground look incredibly tiny compared with the size and scope of the volcano in the painting. I like to look at the painting when I get stuck on a difficult point in the reading. I imagine that I am one of the little people in the foreground, watching the lava and smoke come towards me. The sensation of powerlessness and dread is very similar to what I feel when I think about my studies.

     Sometimes my friends come in, but they know that there is no point trying to talk with me early in the evening. They sit at another table, closer to the coffee bar. I like knowing that they are there, even if I’m not talking with them yet. All around me is the hum of conversation, the clacking of the coffee machine, and, sometimes, music in the background. This can all be distracting at first, but I quickly fall into my routine and am able to concentrate on my studies while still feeling that I am not completely isolated. I

    usually study until 9 or 10, and then I am free to spend time with my friends or do something different. Working in a coffeeshop is the perfect combination of solitude and socializing. Some people need perfect quiet to study, but not me. I am at my best when I’m around people, and study time is no exception.

FINAL DRAFT

Some subjects just aren’t meant to be done at a desk. If I have reading to do, I like to get

    comfortable. I usually go to a place called The Rat’s Nest. It’s one of the few independent

    coffeeshops left. The Rat’s Nest is much friendlier than Starbucks, even though the

    coffee usually tastes like burnt cheese, and one time I got a raisin scone that was full of someone’s hair. Even so, I go there almost every night to study, because it has character. Studying in a coffeeshop is a bit of an art form, as it takes some experience to take advantage of the social nature of a café but also focus on my studies.

     The Rat’s Nest used to be a movie theater years ago. It’s been converted, and now

    only the balcony level is still used for movies. The orchestra level has been sealed off, so that if there is a movie showing, it doesn’t distract the people who are having coffee or

    studying on the main floor. From my seat downstairs, I can’t hear the movie, but I can tell

    when one is playing because that is the only time the kitchen makes popcorn. The irresistible smell of popcorn floods the whole building. The scent is hot, buttery, and delicious.

     The coffeeshop part of the Rats Nest is still furnished like a 1940’s movie theater.

    It has huge overstuffed chairs, mismatched coffee tables, and rich dark tapestries hanging on the walls. The complicated textures of the different materials wool, satin, suede

    contrasts with the overall sense of dinginess, like an elegant plantation manor that has fallen on hard times. The area behind the coffee bar is surrounded with mirrors to make the space look bigger, even though it’s really quite small. The whole space feels intimate, and in the winter, the rich red and orange colors make it feel warm and cozy even when it is freezing outside. No matter what the temperature, I always order my coffee hot. I’ve never understood iced coffee; it’s like a joke that Southerners play on Northerners. My favorite drink is a double mocha with a heap of whipped cream. Maria brings it to my table, and slips me an extra wafer of dark chocolate to go with it. That’s one of the perks of being a regular customer. Tonight, I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the mocha is

    perfect. The cool sweetness of the whipped cream mixes with the hot bitterness of the coffee to make a perfectly balanced drink.

     The table I sit at is in the corner farthest from the coffee bar. Most people don’t

    like to sit there because it is a single table, isolated in the back. I like the quiet. The only problem is that it is right near the bathrooms, so people brush by me every few minutes. I put my backpack under the table. I carry it with me every night, even if I really only need one book. I think it’s a bit like a security blanket; I like to know that I am prepared with everything I need. I always get out a notebook, a pencil and a pen, and a highlighter just in case, even though I don’t like to mark in my books. I turn off my cell phone; if I don’t, I’m almost guaranteed to get caught in a conversation with someone. I like the feeling of being disconnected for a few hours, as it helps me to feel that I’m truly in study mode.

    Then I curl up in the armchair, with my knees slung over one of the overstuffed arms, , and I start to read. The round wooden table in front of me is too low to work at, so the whole situation is rather awkward physically, but I don’t mind. I’m warm and happy, and

    my mocha is delicious. I feel like some medieval monk hunched over a roll of parchment.

     On the wall directly opposite my chair is a reproduction of The Eruption of Vesuvius by Sebastian Pether. The print shows the eruption of an enormous volcano,

    which makes up the focus of the painting. The painting is all done in earth tones and fire colors, which match the warmth of the walls and the furnishings of the coffeehouse. The painting is incredibly powerful, with a bright orange stream of lava running down the side of the volcano towards a lake. The people in the foreground look miniscule compared with the size and scope of the volcano in the painting. When I get stuck on a difficult point in the reading, my eyes wander to the painting. I imagine that I am one of the little people in the foreground, watching the lava and smoke come towards me. Considering the difficulty I am having with sociology, I can empathize with their sense of powerlessness and dread.

     Around 8:00, my friend Sam comes in. She’d like to talk, but she knows there is

    no point trying to talk with me early in the evening. She sits at the coffee bar, making chitchat with Maria. When I’m done with my reading, I’ll join her, and it gives me

    pleasure to anticipate a good conversation and a relaxing time with friends at the end of my studies. All around me is the hum of conversation, the clacking of the coffee machine, and, music in the background, and the occasional loud, annoying ringtone. All these sounds are a little bit distracting, but I am in the zone, and I can concentrate on my studies while still feeling that I am not completely isolated. Working in a coffeeshop is the perfect combination of solitude and socializing. Some people need perfect quiet to study, but not me. I am at my best when I’m around people, and study time is no

    exception.

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