No Laptops, Some Exceptions

It’s a cool, crisp, early fall evening and I’m at Nathanja & Heinrich, an impossibly cozy café and bar in Neukölln. The walls are muted tones of red and brown resting between brick and a most agreeable form of ambient electronica plays as bartenders shake cocktails; it is just past 6:40, which, on this Saturday in Berlin, means it’s time to start warming up with something besides espresso. Beanie-adorned thirty-somethings dot the main room and, as I stroll toward the back corner carrying a backpack and a tall, golden beer, I see several small signs with kind cursive atop tables: “no laptops, please”.

This is normally a request which I not only honor but one that is met with a hearty nod of approval. Again, I really am into it. Some cafes (see: Astro Coffee in Detroit) have even gone as far as to deliberately withhold wifi information from patrons — I’m still into it.

But, at this moment, I find myself in a predicament in which, while not explicitly against the stated rules of the establishment, I must go against my own conventions. A few justifications:

The only book I have on hand is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and I find Hunter S Thompson’s work far too manic to enjoy in this type of setting.

I’m all caught up on Fresh Air interviews and my phone will die soon.

I want to listen to this Khruangbin record.

I need to, every 35 minutes, google if an infected hangnail can kill you (don’t ask).

I think I forgot to unsubscribe from those emails inviting me to for-profit college honor societies and need to do so immediately.

Plus, I’m in the throes of a seemingly-impossible apartment hunt and I fear two hours spent away from, sending 92 messages that say I’m “laid back, creative, but can also probably pay rent on time”, will put me out of contention for a room next month.

And I guess I’m writing this, too.

So here I sit, and, you know what? I feel bad. Do as I say, not as I do.