I discovered yesterday that the Starbucks downstairs is closed over the entire break for renovations. This entirely wrecks my imagined next four weeks, since the Raynor and Memorial Libraries on campus won't be open past 6pm or on weekends, and so I figured to spend my evenings writing in Starbucks. Say what you will about it being a soulless corporate shell of a coffeehouse when compared to the authentic independent coffeehouses of our land, but it was my soulless corporate shell of a coffeehouse – conveniently located around the corner on my block and one of the few entities (usually) remaining open when the students are away, and the only one I can get to, park, and write without having to travel or to fight off frequent addict panhandlers.
I can set up my laptop in my office, of course, but I do like the buzz of some slight human activity in the background, and the vague illusion of human interaction involved in ordering an occasional drink or piece of yummy lemon loaf. When the students all vanish from the university for the holidays, there's always a sudden crash of a feeling of isolation or a sort of "background" loneliness, even though the people absent aren't Close, Personal Friends of Mine. Writing in Starbucks was always a nice balance against that sudden transformation of the university into a ghost town solely inhabited by East and South Asian graduate students in Computer Science shuffling to and from the computer lab at odd hours.