I also read throngs of paperback (almost mimeographed) books in coffee shops and therefore, look like a complete pseudo-intellectual pretentious degenerate. I know because I had that exact disdain for them. I never really understood the need to go out in public if all you wanted to do was show them that your weeknight/weekend social life revolved around a solemn rendezvous with your 10 inch netbook (which you’re probably still paying for in 12 month credit card instalments) and an unrequited, most definitely one-sided laughing affair with a book entitled “find your happiness in cross-stitching”.
So why do I do it when I know exactly that it’s complete public suicide? I do it because it’s the only way I can write. There are no distractions, no TV, no little chore you’ve abandoned for years and now have the sudden surge to tend to, no bed to lure your aching back, no chip/chocolate closet, no stack of books you like rearranging every now and then and no ugly toes that would need to be urgently painted. I can actually focus well because I‘m practically being forced to look and act busy when alone in public. As soon as I get my cup of coffee and desired seat for the day, nothing and no one can distract me.
While I’m a big fan of openly staring blankly and find no shame in wandering random streets with no purpose – coffee shops strap me on to a specific seat and inspire me to look and act normal by being completely engrossed in a specific task. Left to my own devices in a private place, I would probably start licking the walls whist picking my nose with gusto and abandoning writing altogether. I am after all, an experiential learner and I would need something to write about. So I guess writing in public is a better option than the alternative.