Setting up camp at Starbucks…like a boss

Though a nuisance, relocating whips you into shape. You’re constantly lifting large boxes and running around, leaving little time for meals. I experienced this phenomenon when I moved to DC last summer and am going through it at the moment.

This summer, I packed on a few pounds thanks to happiness (hunger for life, as they say) and countless outings with friends, but it’s fairly easy for me to lose weight, so this whole moving thing has had a visible affect on my petite frame. My pants, which used to be tight around my waist, fit loosely now. I always unintentionally slim down in fall and winter, but wish things didn’t happen this way. I’d rather be jubilant in summer than tiny and freezing during chilly seasons.

Regardless of the insanity of moving away and trying to lock down a new place to live, I’m having a ball. Earlier today, I took my giant duffel bag, laptop bag, and large purse on the train to Penn Station. As I waited to board, a random old guy approached me and said, “If you were an octopus, you could carry five more bags.” I certainly didn’t have enough arms for my mission, but I managed just fine without throwing out my back (we’ll see how I feel in the morning!).

At four in the afternoon, I arrived at the train station and seriously considered lugging my stuff a mile to the Chelsea area, where one of my buddies lives. As some of you already know, I avoid taxis at all costs. For one, I’m very do-it-yourself with regards to travel, and I would rather not burn money on needless car rides. I learned this afternoon that I must dispel my cabbie aversion in NYC, especially if I’m carrying big bags.

I had no choice but to hail a taxi today, and I flagged someone down within seconds. Laugh if you will, but I was proud of myself for pulling that off, especially since I’ve heard it’s impossible to get a taxi in busy NYC. The experience is actually much easier here than in DC, where cabbies often refuse to drive beyond district boundaries. Plus, cab drivers accept credit cards here. Who would have thought transportation could be such a breeze?

The cabbie dropped me off at Starbucks, which was flooded with people. Standing by the coffee cream and sugar counter, I worried I wouldn’t be able to get a table, let alone one close to an electrical outlet. Seconds later, a guy with a ponytail stood up from his seat and complained that Starbucks is too commercialized for New York. With that, I rushed over to his open spot, accidentally whacking some of the customers with my luggage in the process.

Before I went on a drama camp trip to NYC in high school, my father warned me about hostile, pushy, rude New Yorkers. A former concrete jungle cabbie himself, he said Californians and New Yorkers may as well be different species, as west coast natives are much friendlier, more laid-back, and happier. They’re more concerned about contentment than power and less likely to screw you over, he said. New Yorkers have a reputation for being abrasive and inherently cold, but I beg to differ. Most people respond well to kindness, so I try to be sweet everywhere I go. Wear a smile on your face and no one is going to scream at you for being a pain.

Today, I resembled a typical disheveled Starbucks hobo who brings too many bags to the coffee shop, but I wasn’t poorly received. I smiled at everyone in sight, and no one scoffed at me for taking up tons of space. I manned my turf for three hours before my friend got home from work, but check out my temporary Starbucks home. I held the fort for so long, I didn’t even get up to wash my hands or purchase food. By the time I ate something at the end of the night, I was shaking:

Thankfully, I made it to my buddy’s apartment this evening and am enjoying myself in the city, so hopefully I’ll have a much less dramatic train ride back to DC when I return in a few weeks to retrieve more of my belongings!

At my going-away happy hour last night, Evan joked that I can always occupy Wall Street in the event that I can’t find an apartment. Boyle, my trusty former colleague, said he’d never speak to me again if I were to join the protesters, so I’ll pass on that move, but at least I know it’s an option!

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