The Author Writes Outside

After dropping children off to school, the author drove over back roads to get home. No clouds in the powder blue sky, the sun streamed fully, enough to warm the misnomer of Florida winter. It's so pretty outside, the author thought. She'd rolled the windows down, and her little dog stretched her neck to smell everything they passed. Other people walked by with their dogs, and others jogged in bright exercise clothing, wires coming out of their ears. The dog's tail wagged against the owner's arm at all the activity.

She would work outside today. The sun, the people, the morning's energy--all of it heightened the promise of the day, that she could accomplish everything she wanted to.

She left the dog at home and returned to the park with her laptop. Aah, the author's heart murmured. This was what she needed. She couldn't stand to be trapped indoors, her thoughts and imagination limited by the four walls she was boxed in. So much better to be outside.

She tilted the monitor several times to find an angle in which the sun didn't glare. But it was a bright day; a minor glare wasn't so bad. The author put her sunglasses on, but now she couldn't read her own words on the screen. Fishing in her purse, she pulled out her reading glasses and put them on under the sunglasses. (She did not want to look like an old lady.) Even so, the two pairs of glasses proved cumbersome. They didn't line up properly because the stems were too bulky to sit together on her ears. She found herself looking up whenever a car passed. Many of her neighbors took this route, and she couldn't prevent the reflexive action of checking the vehicles to see if she should wave or not. The bench had an odd slant that caused the laptop to slide down her legs.

This was impossible.

She closed up her laptop, removed the reading glasses, and walked to a nearby coffee shop with outdoor tables. This is where she should have come in the first place. Look there--two girls, college-age probably, huddled around a bistro table, one searching through a book, the other clacking on her keyboard. The author smiled. Now she was in her element.

She began to write. A bizarre tune struck the air, and a man at the table next to hers answered his cell phone. He spoke loudly, and the intrusion of his voice scrambled the author's brain. She accidentally typed the words he spoke. She shot him a look. She sighed loudly. She moved about in her chair as though she couldn't possibly get comfortable. The man kept talking. Sandhill cranes gobbled overhead, then landed on the sidewalk, strolling in that slow moving way they had. They weren't afraid of anything. They would hold up whole lines of traffic crossing the street, the same way sheep did in Ireland. Now the college girls burst into laughter.

Too many distractions, the author thought. Plus, she needed her desk at home where she could spread out her ideas like peanut butter on bread. She would fire up a cappuccino and start afresh.

When she got home, she set herself up in her office, skipped the cappuccino, and dropped into her chair. The sun teased her, dappling the window and reaching right through the glass to touch her face.