Love Bites: On Coffee Shop Tables

This month's columnist explores the role of coffee shop tables in their professional, creative and personal life

Article by Xandra Robinson-Burns | 19 Aug 2021
  • Cafe Tables

I dress up for a table. I pack my bag with care. Here at this distinguished surface, I put my best pen to paper to write this love letter.

In the messy mind of an artist, cluttered with idea fragments, this table is a steady symbol of support – even if its legs happen to be wobbly. Any table in a coffee shop will do, although I have my favourite seats in my favourite cafes. Some are even barstools, evoking a trendy standing desk.

At one particular barstool, I set the career goal I keep to this day. Having just finished exams, I enjoyed my first table of pure creative freedom. At last, I could write whatever I wanted. There in the window, I defined my simple definition of success: to write about what I love, in coffee shops.

Ever since, I’ve prioritised the coffee, the table and the writing. Even on vacation, I’d drag my family out for morning pages or I’d get up early for a solo cafe fix. At one cup a day, I’m less of a caffeine addict, more of a… table enthusiast?

It wasn’t the plan, but last year, I assessed what I missed most about coffee shop tables. I spruced my own space, learned to make pour-over, lit candles on our one table that doubles as a dining room, put music on shuffle to manufacture surprise.

Cafes fulfil my social needs in a similar way that being in a theatre audience does. Little borrowed islands of personal space in public, these tables are my introverted form of community. They buffer my presence from society at my preferred, busy distance. Because of them, I feel comfortable to show up at all. When I do, I bring my most purposeful self. Thanks, table.