# of pages written: 3.5 (so far, but I’m going to keep working)
# of times I’ve checked email/facebook:5
# of days left to write 1st draft: 148
The past few days have been quite hot and steamy, and since we don’t have air-conditioning (a lot of places on the Cape don’t), the house has been rather unbearable. I try to work, but the damp, stifling air makes me sleepy and uncomfortable. I end up eating a lot of chocolate then drifting off into unintentional naps, waking up twenty minutes later, sweaty and drooling, to find I’ve typed something totally unintelligible. Of course, the solution is to get out of the house and find a quiet, air-conditioned place to write. But that, my friends, is easier said than done.
Today is Sunday, so the library (which has limited hours to begin with), is closed. So I set off in my car to find a nice little coffee shop where I could write in relative peace.
First stop: The Brewster Coffee Shop. It’s closed on Sundays. D’oh.
Second stop: Cobie’s Ice Cream and Seafood. Way too jam-packed with loud families and crying children. Plus, no place to sit down.
Third stop: The Herb Shop and Espresso Cafe.
This place was interesting. It seemed to be a farm, based on the fact that there was a green John Deere tractor out front and a whole bunch of chickens. The shop/cafe was inside of a red pre-fab building and contained a variety of soaps, bottles of herbal tinctures, a few self-published books about bee-keeping, and a freezer that claimed to have ice cream in it, but was, in fact, empty.
After standing at the counter for awhile, reading one of the bee books, a wild-haired gentleman in a purple-flowered shirt appeared from the back and asked me what I’d like. According to the sign, the options for lattes were something like “Tipsy’s La La” and “Gypsy’s La di da,” both of which sounded like the names of the Teletubbies, so I told him I wasn’t sure what to choose. Another customer, who had been examining a display of crystals for quite some time, recommended Tipsy’s La La, and I said, “yeah, I’ll have that.”
I gave the man my money, and he proceeded to tell me thank you in a variety of foreign languages, some of them (I’m pretty sure) made up. There was no place to sit down inside, and once the purple-shirted man started talking, he seemed unable to stop, so I took my latte outside to the picnic tables.
It was actually quite lovely in the shade with the breeze blowing, and no one else was sitting outside, which was good because I’m easily distracted by other people’s conversations. I got out my computer, sipped my latte, and thought, “yeah, this is a good spot. I can make this my writing place from now on.”
But then the chickens came.
Now, I love animals, but I’ve always been a bit wary of chickens. They have sharp beaks and beady yellow eyes, and I think they know that I’ve eaten their sisters in many a quesadilla. Still, I tried to make friends with the two chickens who were now strutting around my table, their necks pumping vigorously.
“Hello, pretty chickens,” I said. “Look at your beautiful feathers.” (When in doubt, flatter the chicken, that’s what I always say.)
The toast-colored one approached me and stared into my eyes. The darker one (rye bread toast, I thought) circled my chair, jutting her neck with indignation that I had nothing to feed her. A white one sauntered over and went right underneath my legs. I tried not to stiffen when her feathers brushed against my bare calves. “Aren’t you guys friendly?” I said, starting to get nervous. I sipped my latte and went back to typing.
But then more of them came. These chickens weren’t friendly. They were fearless. They began to surround me: five, then six, then seven. They strutted around my chair on their skinny chicken legs, their necks bobbing. How quaint, I tried to tell myself. Writing with the chickens. Suddenly, an older hen with matted black and yellow feathers jumped onto the table and stared at me with crazy jaundiced eyes.
“Oh my!” I said, trying not to sound nervous. Chickens can smell fear.
I picked up my empty latte cup and tossed the ice onto the ground in an attempt to distract her. It worked. The old hen leaped off the table and pecked viciously at the ice. The chickens from all around me scuttled over to investigate. The white one, in its eagerness, trampled over my bare foot, and I felt its cold talon scratch my skin.
At the sight of me tossing something to the ground, more chickens began to waddle over. But by now the chickens had realized that what I had thrown was not delicious food but only hard little pellets of frozen water. They stared up at me, insulted, and began to circle again, closer this time.
Just ignore them, Eva, I told myself. I went back to my typing, but I flinched as one of the chickens strutted under my legs, and I glanced under the table to see three of them looking curiously up my skirt.
“Go away, little chickens,” I said, trying to be nice. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any food for you.”
Still they circled, strutting and clucking and pumping their elastic necks. I braced myself for the violent pecking I felt sure was about to ensue.
Then the old one jumped back onto the table with a flutter of her black-speckled wings. She reached her neck forward and pecked at the back of my computer. And that’s when I realized that the chickens had won. I packed up my things and scurried away to my car, feeling frightened, and also shameful that I had let the chickens deprive me of my writing spot.
I drove down the street to Nickerson State Park and sat down at a picnic table where the only pests were black ants and the occasional mosquito. This is fine, I thought, pulling out my computer. I can get some writing done here. And just then the clouds opened up, and it began to rain. I headed back home, which is where I am now, sitting in front of a fan, and feeling droplets of sweat pool inside my bra.
I never thought I’d say this, but if anyone knows of a Starbucks in the vicinity of Brewster, let me know. I’m in need of a Frappuccino and a quiet table near a a power strip.