Monday, September 11, 2006

Vacation's All I Ever Wanted

I’m vacationing with my family—the extended family, including husband and mom and brothers and in-laws—on Balboa Island, where we used to spend summers when we were much younger. It’s charming, idyllic and quiet—well, it was until we arrived. I have four brothers and they all talk louder than the next to get a word in edge-wise. They’re rowdy and they like to drink and wrestle and tell dirty jokes, all at the same time occasionally. And since I married a bartender who knows all the best jokes, he happily fits right in with the gang.

It’s not the best place in the world to get any writing done, but I’m giving it my best shot. At home, I can usually write with a little background noise, maybe a radio going in the next room, but here with the family, the noise is constant and up close and personal, and like—hey, is that your computer? What’re you writing? Can I check my e-mail? Did you get a connection? Is that your website? Lemme see! We’re going for a walk! Look at the pelicans! Is it happy hour yet? (This question is usually asked around 9:00am but hey, we’re on vacation.)

But I’m here to work.

However, despite the outrageous rental fee, the house we’re staying in doesn’t have a wireless connection. So after many attempts to hook into some poor island sap’s unsecured wireless connection and not having much luck, I gave up on the notion that I might make a good wireless pirate, bit the bullet and took myself off to Starbucks eight blocks away on the island's main street. I paid the outrageous $9.99 fee to hook up with T Mobile for 24 hours and finally got a clear connection. I a happy surfer? Hmph. No. I’ve learned an interesting and somewhat dismaying lesson about myself. I can’t concentrate with all these strangers around me. Are they looking over my shoulder? Are they judging me? Am I projecting? Well, yes. See, I thought all those people who write at Starbucks were just trying to be hip and groovy, but it turns out that Starbucks is a “hot spot” for wireless connectivity. So I guess they're just minding their own business, trying to get connected to the internet. And now here I am, one of those people......

So...does it bother you to write in public places? Or do you find it stimulating? And aren’t you happy that pumpkin scones are back?? I love those things!!


Blogger Maureen Child said...

Hi lucky puppy out on Balboa Island!!

Nope, I have no problem working in public. Doesn't matter to me at all.. although people staring at me when I'm whispering dialogue to myself to make sure it sounds right is a little offputting!

6:32 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Hi . . .
Enjoy your vacation.

I used to feel self-conscious writing in public. Now, less so. Fact is, I simply have to write when I can with four kids and many deadlines.

However, I have to say I work far better in my "space." At home. I feel like I am in my own world here and cultivate a writing space that feels very wonderful to me.


4:03 PM  
Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Erica! Wow, with four kids, you must've learned to use every ounce of time you have. Can't be worried about strangers looking over your shoulder, right?

I'm back home now and much happier in my little space.

Maureen, I know you take your alphie everywhere so you're my idol when it comes to writing in public places. I did get better at it as the week went by, but I also managed to find the perfect table where I could sit with my back to the wall, facing the door. That really helped. No more strangers sneaking around behind me. LOL

2:33 PM  
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