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Lingering guilt.

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How long do you linger after your last sip? The answer is different for everyone.

Empty chai and just bought a bagel for hour #3. Cha-ching!

This morning, I planned to be budget-friendly and work in our downtown office, but I was greeted by my co-worker with bad news–we no longer have wireless. While this is an annoyance to the full-time employees who like to bring their laptops in from home but are also provided with desktops, it’s a downright dealbreaker for me. I have to have wireless. I have no choice. So while I was deciding where to pack up and head off to, my co-worker asked me the question: how long can I stay in one place on one cup of coffee without feeling guilty? I can always stay one hour, no problem. If it’s off peak hours and most tables are empty, I can feel okay about staying for a couple of hours. I have occasionally gotten really into my work and pushed three, but that’s rarely intentional. The last time I did that was at a former favorite haunt. I say “former” because as I was getting up to leave, a guy from the kitchen snidely remarked, “Leaving so soon?”

That did it. Not going back there for awhile. I’m sure he was only joking, but not only was the place empty, I’d also eaten an overpriced egg and cheese biscuit in addition to my coffee plus a generous tip. So I’ll be taking a true coffee break from said coffee house. That’ll show ’em.

I was surprised to find out that my co-worker’s guilt sets in after only 20 or 30 minutes of cafe working. I can’t imagine investing two dollars for a cup of coffee and a place to work only to feel like I needed to get up and move mere minutes later. That’s barely enough time to log on and check your email.

How does your guilt goad you and how long before it sets in? Do you get up and go? Get a refill? Buy something else?


One response »

  1. I always buy something. And given the fact that a latte, snack and a tip can set you back the price of a lunch, I never feel guilty hanging out a couple of hours… as long as there are still places for people to sit. But sometimes, if I have to cafe work several times in a week, I’ll go somewhere different each day. Or I’ll hit Barnes and Noble, where no one pays attention.


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