I pull into the parking space five to ten minutes before the doors open. I can see in my driver's side mirror when an employee comes to the door and unlocks it, opening the place for business.
I grab my laptop and go inside.
I wait patiently at the cash register for whatever cheery teenager is working the front that morning to punch in his or her access code to turn the machine on.
"What can I get for you?" they ask.
"Medium coffee, black."
"That'll be $1.08."
I hand over two dollar bills and receive three quarters, a dime, a nickel, and two pennies in change.
While I'm waiting for my coffee to be poured, I inspect the quarters. If they have bears on the back, they go in the other pocket, segregated from the rest of the change. I'm saving up my Alaska quarters for some purchase I'd once planned on making but have long ago forgotten what it is. Still, I can't bring myself to NOT save them.
When my coffee comes, I head to the little two-person table in the corner by the men's room. Seated with my back to the wall there, I'm unlikely to be bothered by people who want to sneak a peek at what I'm ;looking at online, or by people who insist on making inane, meaningless conversation with me no matter how much I telegraph my disinterest in them.
I sit, flip open the laptop, and press the little blue "on" button. While I wait for the machine to boot up, I get my "works" ready. From my left front coat pocket, I bring out a little black mesh baggie. It contains my earbuds. I can usually get them plugged into the headphone jack with the buds in my ears before the Microsoft "I'm ready" chime sounds.
From my right front coat pocket I bring out two packets of stevia or Equal or Sweet N Low and a little blue jar with a twist-off top containing a white powder. It's my coffee creamer, usually Irish Creme or Vanilla flavored. I pop open the flap on my cup, tear off the corners of my sweetener packets and open the little blue jar.
I pour the sweetener in first, then the creamer. After a sip, I set the cup aside to cool, log onto my first site, an online radio station, turn the music on, minimize that window, click the little blue "e" to open another one, and begin the day.