Time is a valuable thing,
Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings
Watch it tick down to the end of the day
The clock ticks life away.
When I stay with The Outlaws, most days I go into Oamaru to write.
There are too many distractions around the farm: the projectile mud, the violent decor, the mice inhabiting the sofa, Agent of Death’s collection of home-made rum. I also find it harder to ignore the magnetising appeal household chores exert on me when the alternative is writing: unloading the dishwasher, sorting out the spice drawer, fishing out lumps of roast potato from under the oven.
Most critically, I can access the kenken.com site here. Mathematical and/or logic puzzles are to me as vodka is to an alcoholic, or laxatives to a model. At home, Husband has banned selected puzzle and game sites at the server level. These include: Kenken, Kakuro, Killer Sudoku, Tetris and the NY Times games page. Ooh- that reminds me: I wonder if The Sun still has its games arcade?
Looks like that’s tomorrow scheduled.
Anyway. I occasionally work in the library in town, but the librarians don’t allow you to eat snacks even if you bring them yourself. This TOTALLY stifles my creativity, which is a fragile, sensitive entity that requires calm, quiet and careful nourishment.
I used to go to The Bridge Cafe on Thomas St, but the staff were too friendly. Aggressive conversationalists, they were undaunted by my headphones and loud humming and hiding behind my laptop pretending I didn’t see them. They all wanted to know how the writing was going? – to which the answer became increasingly obvious. I persevered because the owner used to give me free coffee, but when that dried up I resolved to relocate my custom to another establishment.
I chose The Roost Cafe. Regrettably, The Roost is directly opposite The Bridge on 30 Thames St. I still cross the road to avoid walking past The Bridge; then hide around a corner and dart really fast into The Roost when a truck passes.
The Roost is FABULOUS and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Their food is modern and delicious: tortilla stacks, smoked salmon quiche, spanakopita, mushroom and blue cheese tarts, a variety of open grill sandwiches. The coffee comes with a tiny, delectable truffle; and the hot chocolate is made with real chocolate.
The staff don’t seem to mind that I can make a cup of coffee and a scone last 3-4 hours; or that I plug my laptop into their power point; or that I have been witnessed chair-dancing while rapping aloud to Linkin Park.
The other day, after a successful afternoon’s creative endeavour, I went to pay for my hot chocolate and scone with cream and jam. About five people – or basically, the full complement of staff on duty – were clustered around the point of sale system. They all looked harried; an elderly woman was on the phone – obviously to a technician (I heard her say, ‘Yes, I’ve TURNED it off and on. YES I’LL WAIT.’) – with a finger jammed up to the wrist in the opposite ear.
“I hate to bother you,” I said to the young dude who’d originally taken my order, “but I’d like to pay.”
“Oh. Ah,” he said, breaking into a light sweat. “We have- you see- this- we can’t-”
“Look. I can pay cash if you can access the register, or, you know, I’ll be in again tomorrow . . .”
Evidently I don’t look like the trustworthy type, because he said, “Oh, you can pay cash.”
So he calculated the total on a piece of scrap paper and I handed over $10 and he managed to open the cash register without aid of a screwdriver and he handed me my change.
And then I said,
“Can I have a receipt, please?”
AND NOBODY LAUGHED.
Can you believe it?
I might forgive them, because they do great scones.