I'm sitting at the same desk I've been in all day, but this isn't another sob story about office life. I quite enjoy staying here long past the sun's down—that's when the bands downstairs start playing, and on a night like this, the street below feels alive. During the day? You maze past one homeless person after another, hoping none of them get aggressive or even ask you for money. During the night? You slip and slide through a mild crowd of millennials on the same sidewalk the misfits traveled hours before.
Is it the rattle of the air conditioning I love so much about staying here? Surely not. It's not the obnoxious fluorescent lights, nor the decades-old brick wall and exposed rafters. They're not beautiful wood beams—just rusty brown bars, keeping a roof above my head. Maybe I should give them more credit. More than anything, I enjoy the fact that I, enclosed in this relatively small office space, am secluded in the middle of a living city with people moving and working. Perhaps that's too strong a word for their actions, though seeing some of the men and women who labored for hours on their outfits and bodies, it looks like work.
The solitude of the writer is tangible. Though I don't always spend time above a bar in an office at 9 PM on a Friday night, even if I were there, I wouldn't be there. I'd be thinking and observing. Capturing the scene in hopes that it means something more. Grasping the perception that my being there is somehow beneficial to the rest of my life. I'm in my head, and on a great day, I'd still be at my desk, clicking and clacking away trying to make a story.
The writer's life is one of immersion. Lee Gutkind talks about the importance of going out to experience the world before you decide to get an MFA in creative nonfiction or anything of the likes. You'll have something to write about, and you'll get the most out of the degree that way. He says you'll create your best work through immersion, like the author of Friday Night Lights who transplanted his entire family to the town he wrote about, all for the story. That's dedication.
As noble as that sounds, Lee, this is my life right now. I could make the trip downstairs and try sneaking into one of these fine establishments, but I wouldn't make it very far. (I'm under-underage, not even 18.) All I know is that when I do, I'll justify it with something like, "I'm just living a little..."
"...so that I have something to write about later."