The trouble with working remotely: what do you do with your laptop when you need to pee?

Cate Tech

CateCate Sevilla writes…

I’m all for public WiFi. If it were free, that would make me an incredibly happy woman – but I’ll pay for it if need be. (And by “pay for it” I mean I’ll have my partner pay £10 a month for it, and steal his login and use it whenever I want.) There’s something extremely pleasant about packing up one’s laptop, power cables, notebooks, headphones and iPod and heading down to your local cafe to sit and look at porn blog to your heart’s content. There’s no greater feeling than getting The Good Seat at Starbucks, which is, of course, the big comfy sofa located directly next to the power outlet.

However, this situation is hard to come by. More often than not, there is some bastard in Your Spot. There she is, all spread out on the sofa and talking on the phone. She’s barely even using her laptop! Why is she taking the Good Spot and hogging the power outlet and (AND!) only using her laptop to check her email. Get a freakin’ Blackberry.

But this isn’t the only trouble with working remotely. Sometimes, the battle for the Good Spot can be lost right before your very eyes:

Imagine you’re in line waiting for your coffee. Then you realize that The Spot becomes free! FREE! They’re leaving! You’re eyeing it frantically, praying no one else takes it, cursing the stupid Barista for taking so damn long to make your drink. And then…then, you watch as someone wearing bright red Crocs parks their ass right on your Spot, and whips out their Mac Book Air. You are consumed with a sense of hatred stronger than any other emotion you’ve ever known. You wonder how could someone with such poor taste in shoes have such a nice laptop? Bastard.

I’ve discovered a great way of securing the Good Seat if the spot is free before I purchase my coffee: I simply toss my cardigan on the back of a chair or place a notebook on the table to mark it. If I could mark the area with urine or a scent trail I would, but I’d rather not get kicked out of the shop. Again, this is simple enough routine if the Spot is open when I first arrive, but not if I’m stuck in a line of 15, caffeine deprived people.

However, even securing the Good premises does not solve all your problems when working remotely. There is another problem that can arise after slurping down a Iced Grande Caramel Macchiato, say, about 45-60 minutes after its consumption: the awful realization that: oh-my-god-I-have-to-pee…like, now.

Currently, I am suffering from the “Do I pee and lose my spot?” dilemma. I am petrified of things being stolen from me, and am therefore not comfortable with just leaving my cardigan or my umbrella or even a notebook on my table while I go off in search of the release I so desperately need. I’d have to pack up my laptop. I’d have to unplug my power cable, which leaves my much coveted power outlet open to anyone who needs it. I’d lose WiFi access which means that I’d have to do the whole login process again, which to be honest, a pain in the ass.

This is why, I think that all the Starbucks and the Costa Coffees and Cafe Neros of the world should get hip to the needs of us laptop, WiFI users. We need a nifty system so that we can pee and get up and buy another drink without risking the theft of our gadgets or surrendering our Good Seats. We’re the ones paying extra to use the Internet! We’re the ones staying here for hours and hours and if you’d make it easier for us to get up and buy more coffee and one of those delicious paninis you keep toasting, think of the money you’d make!

I’d give you a list of ideas, such as reservations signs or a locker for our goodies, but frankly, I need to wrap this up so I can pack up my laptop and find the toilet.

Cate Sevilla is a freelance writer in London and regular contributor to ShinyShiny.

By Cate | June 25th, 2008

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