I am so bothered by the arrangement of the tables at my morning writing spot—notice I said “MY morning writing spot” and not the one-of-many neighborhood Starbucks; I am so entitled. It used to be that the tables were set up in such a way that writers would line up here, laptops plugged in, and other people—readers, chatters, sippers, people still drunk from last night—would fill in at the many other tables and no one bothered anyone and the world was good. There was also a row of tables at a second wall, providing three additional outlet opportunities. You could have your back to a wall in a variety of spots, and you felt somehow separate from the hubbub of the rest of the place. I wrote the bulk of three YA novels at one of those tables. I tried—and sometimes succeeded—to write a lot more than that. Now, not only has the staff removed the row of more private tables entirely, replacing it with an exceptionally long milk-and-napkin stand (the place where the milk-and-napkin stand had been was replaced by shelves of things to buy), but I think they removed some of the tables from the store completely. I swear there are at least eight places less to sit. And, on top of that, some mornings I come in to find the tables at the ONLY remaining wall of outlets to be situated in such a way that your back is to the room and only four tables fit—filled with newspaper readers. Stubborn that I am, I moved my table to face the way I want it to, my back to the wall, and plugged in as usual. But the arrangement is still awkward, and if I move my chair an inch to the left I will knock my power adapter out of the wall and probably break it. This Starbucks is losing all magic. It is starting to suck. (Also, I do not like the country music blasting over the speakers. This is New York City; please give us back the jazz.) Funny thing: I was running late one day and happened to go to another Starbucks that was closer to the subway. It’s a small one, and not a good writing spot. Even so, there, I found some of the regulars from this place. They had decamped! They were disappointed too!
This is what I get for writing in a Starbucks of all places. Clearly this one no longer values their writer patrons. Probably they don’t like people setting up shop for an entire day, staring at the other patrons, chewing over their sentences, taking up tables that a flood of paying customers could use. They have rearranged to get rid of us. (I say “us” though I am only here at most two hours in the mornings.) They have rearranged to get rid of me! It’s a conspiracy! (Maybe.) Anyway, this must be why people move out of Manhattan and get bigger apartments where they can actually fit writing desks, so they don’t have to rely on the kindness of corporations. Since when are corporations kind?