Don’t Judge Me, Stranger

As a graduate student, I find a pretty consistent need to get myself out of my own element.  Put simply: I can’t work at home.  There’re too many distractions.  Why in the world would I ever write a script when I could just as easily go a few days on Minecraft or catch up on my Hulu queue?  Who could say no to a couple of episodes of Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 when you should be working on the next great feature-length revisionist male melodrama?  Don’t answer that.

As a screenwriter, one of the best solutions I’ve found for beating distraction is locking myself into a booth at a coffee shop.  If people can see me not working, they’ll be suspicious that I’m wasting my life away, and I just can’t have strangers thinking that about me.  My roommates, my parents, my professors?  Fine.  But not you, guy who’s read every David Foster Wallace book cover to cover and had three reviews well-rated on Goodreads.  Not you. So, for you, Mr. Well-Read, I’ve compiled my three favorite places to be guilted by passersby into getting my work done.

Trident Cafe and Booksellers

Oh my God.  Talk about environment.  We’re looking here at a not-meager sized collection of books and blank journals packed right next to the best poutine and Monte Cristo I’ve ever had in my entire life (and I’ve eaten a lot of Canadian junk food.)  Plus, if you order food, and you definitely will, attractive people will bring you free refills of coffee.  The great thing about this place, though, is that everyone else there is working just as hard as you, and it’s not just college students, which is refreshing.  In all honesty, I find myself even rating this place to my bitter enemies.  They should pay me in free banana-stuffed french toast.

Oh, and they’re open until midnight.  Not a hard sell.

Espresso Royale

This place isn’t as obscure as Trident, but if you can manage to get a seat, you’re good to go.  This place even smells great, and they’ve put just enough work into the decor to not feel so hip and trendy that it’s alienating.  Now, like I said, they hardly ever have a seat open, and on top of that, the electrical sockets are few and far between, but this place has its picture on Wikipedia right next to “coffee shops conducive to a positive work environment.”  I’ve had countless meetings here with mentors and writing partners, and when I don’t feel like straying too far from campus, this is the place I’ll wander into.

Refuge Cafe

Live in Allston?  This place is right on the corner of Brighton and Harvard waiting for you.  Cushy chairs, sensual hipster-folk, bay windows, and art for sale on the walls.  They make a mean breakfast burrito (I have an eating problem, go away) and pour a decent cup of coffee.  Plus, they almost always have a seat open, and there’s just enough of a buzz of conversation in the air to keep you suitably distracted, but also remind you that your peers are definitely judging you for browsing

Now, children, the forty-fifth remake of Dickens’s The Christmas Carol beckons you from the snowy white of the untouched Final Draft document you’ve had open on your laptop for the last four days.  Get yourself to one of these great Boston locales.  The attractive waitstaff patiently holds a table for you!

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