Sunday, July 24, 2011

Speedboat Coffee.

I may have mentioned here--or to you in person, if you're unfortunate enough, because this is probably one of the boringest things I talk about--that inspired by Clare, I've been in the habit for about a year now of making myself lists of monthly goals. These goals make me feel inspired and productive and/or really guilty and crappy about myself. Since these goals are usually so dorky and boring I've been writing about them in LiveJournal--you know, where people used to write before they became "bloggers"--since I know only approximately five people read that. (Thanks, sister!) However, I keep getting a crapload of annoying spam comments from LJ recently, which has been really irking me, and makes me wonder if I should start writing about my goals here instead.

QUICK POLL:
SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT MY DORKY AND BORING MONTHLY GOALS HERE?
RESPOND:
1. YES
2. NO
3.YES, ONLY IF THEY'RE MORE EXCITING THAN YOU SPENDING A PARAGRAPH CONTEMPLATING WHETHER YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT THEM HERE OR NOT.**

** They probably will not be.

Anyway, so I pretentiously made a goal this month of attempting to visit a coffee shop for a few hours once a week to "write." This has been the only week so far where I haven't made this happen, mainly because I am insanely busy this week. Of course, this "writing" has mainly just amounted to "writing blog entries." However, even just writing blog entries, but writing them IN A COFFEESHOP, makes you feel infinitely cooler than typing on an old desktop PC on a desk completely full of crap. Crap which your cat constantly jumps up on and then knocks over everywhere, causing things to crash and paper to fly every which way, which makes you mad EVERY TIME, even though if you just cleaned your crap up, and/or trained your cat better, this wouldn't happen. 

Right. Essentially, while this exercise has not made me feel any closer to being a "real writer," as I hoped, it has mostly made me evaluate the experience of writing in a coffee shop. Firstly, in Portland, there's such a plethora of coffee shops to try, which is thrilling, but also overwhelming. I've come to ask myself: what type of coffee shop do I really need? After reading enough author bios on book jackets which read, "Blahblah lives in blahblahgreatplace where she/he writes in a coffeeshop everyday!" (alternately, they have some awesome farmhouse in Vermont--I get jealously angry of either scenario), one would assume that one can just walk into any coffeeshop, open a laptop, and BAM, be the Most Productive and Creative Writer There Ever Was!

Alas. This does not happen (for me).

Hence, I bring you my Finding the Right Coffee Shop For You! experience. There are coffee shops which are REALLY NICE and fancy-ish, and while these make me feel fancy-ish and often productive, I also don't completely feel like my sarcastic, self-deprecating self sometimes in them, and you know what you write when you don't feel like yourself? Bad stuff. Maybe it won't sound bad to other people, but it'll sound sort of bad to you.

Then there are the coffee shops that make you feel SO comfortable that you'd rather veg on one of their comfortable couches and stare out the window at people walking down the street  with a vacant expression on your face, getting lost in the inexplicably cool music the barista is playing, for hours on end instead of doing anything else. I love these coffee shops! But, you know. Maybe something in between is what one needs.

Last week I tried Speedboat, and while I still want to get around to even more coffee shops, I think Speedboat might work for me. OH MY GOD, WE'VE REACHED THE POINT OF THIS ENTRY!

This coffee shop isn't new to us; we actually visit it frequently, I had just never actually sat down and written there. There are many things which are awesome about Speedboat:

1) It's in our neighborhood, and supporting small businesses in our neighborhood is pretty much my favorite thing to do. Hurrah Foster-Powell!
2) It serves bagels from Gabriel's Bakery, which are our favorite local bagels: so soft and dough-y and good. (You can also buy Gabriel's bagels at New Seasons, or at the farmer's market downtown, or of course at the source itself--I think there are two Gabriel's Bakery locations, although I actually haven't been to either of them.) Our favorite is the Herb & Cheese bagel. You can pretend it's good for you, because there are HERBS in it, RIGHT? (There is also a whole bunch of greasy melted cheddar cheese.)
3) The whole inside is surprisingly adorable and comfortable, and it also has a little play area nook for kiddos, if, you know, you're one of those Portland hipsters with kids. And yes, there are a shocking number of these. It really weirds me out. At 6 years old, these children are always dressed cooler than I will ever dress. And the parents always look super hip AND wholesome all at the same time, which is confounding. People ask us, and other friends our age, if we have kids like ALL THE TIME. IT IS SO WEIRD. No one ever asked us this in Boston.

Quick Table:



4) Oh, right, I was talking about the interior of Speedboat. So: it's full of retro memorabilia concerning speedboats (shocker!) and waterskiing and the like. I get a surprising amount of satisfaction from this decor. While I don't think I've ever successfully waterskiied, I've tried to, and it all makes me feel nostalgic for my lake-centered hometown, which was abundant with marinas and speedboats and waterskis. Anything that makes you wax nostalgic for your hometown is comforting when you're thousands of miles away from it.


5) There's a drive-through! So you can be LAZY!
6) They serve Stumptown coffee if you're into that, and Dragonfly Chai if you're into that. Speaking of which, as a big chai person, after drinking Dragonfly and other great locally made chais, I discovered this week that I can no longer drink chai from Starbucks--it tastes sickeningly sweet. I thought Portland had just made me into a beer snob, but apparently it's made me into a chai snob, too. Who knew there could be such a thing! My annoying snob factor increases by the minute! Anyway--and if you're into iced tea as I am, they have some new varieties of that too--I really like their sassafras black tea.
7) Their punch card! Who doesn't love a good punch card!

In conclusion, I like it. You should go.

And hopefully I will keep writing in coffeeshops. And maybe I will write about a few more. And maybe, sometime, I'll actually write something meaningful in one of those coffeeshops! Instead of, just, you know, writing ABOUT coffeeshops! But, I wouldn't bet on it. Yet. And maybe someday I'll be able to write about things like Norway without just sounding like I'm crazy. That would be good. Too.

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