Coffee shop laptop snobbery

Ever feel a little bit insecure about the size of your laptop?

Josh Barrie
Sunday 02 December 2012 01:00

Standing in the queue of an illustrious independent coffee shop, used mainly by those who wear only the finest brogues and locally famed for its high-quality coffee, I stand fourth from the front and contemplate a brownie.

In my left hand, the debit card, poised and waiting so as to not disrupt the hushed speed and order of it all. In my right, a battered, stained laptop case.

Flat white upon me, it’s out the door, fast. It’s nearly always to go. I can’t possibly sit down at one of the tables this time and get out my supermarket-bought beast, however fast Intel say the processor is. However clean the screen, or mesmerisingly serene the Brighton sea horizon wallpaper may be.

For upon each and every croissant prison today – and so often – sit those who wear the glasses without prescription; the colourful trousers and the abundant rings tap-tapping upon those pure and sightly keys. Those perfect, ultra-sensitive keys that sing sweet creativity through every touch. Mine merely sound as if denting plastic in some new-age blacksmiths.

How could I sit next to all these graphic designers and PR consultants? Curse and strain as the monster comes out of its lair – poorly fitted to the interior of its case and already humming a loud and oppressive delirium of torment amidst the otherwise church-like atmosphere. Not to mention the likelihood of a coffee spillage. ‘Why do you care?’ The others would question, as tears drip into china. ‘It’s for the best,’ they’d exclaim. ‘It’s Microsoft.’

Yes, wouldn’t we all love a MacBook Air. The sheer concupiscence they bring about to those without isn’t worth hiding. Those gentle, sensual lines that show the world you’re smooth. The speed, the elegance. How they match charity shop-bought blouses; polo shirts so slim in fit that you expect said gentleman to turn into an asparagus at any second.

It’s somewhat diminishing at times, as well as beautiful socially awkward, to brashly remove a laptop worth £400 in a shop that might be mistaken for an Apple store. On all too many occasions have I forgotten to turn off the sound and upon opening cast a Windows welcome booming across the café. Startled heads turn and question the profanity. Why must they endure such impertinence, they probably mull.

‘Laptops in coffee shops’ was an issue a few years ago. Should the cafés allow the website designers and such to sit for hours on one purchase, when there’s the distinct possibility a group of yummy mummies would happily occupy the spot with prams, soya lattes and granola aplenty? And muffins with seeds on top that people actually think are good for them? These were trying times.

Now though, laptops are commonplace and as much a piece of furniture as the brown chairs based on 70s Italian chic and endless photos of farmers who are supposed to give the impression of ‘fair trade.’ But because of this seamless modernisation, where laptops, iPads and Kindles replace papers, books and caricature artists, a new, laptop snobbery has formed. Noses are turned upwards at the ghastly sight of a four, colourful squares flashing in the corner.

Maybe it’s because only ‘creatives’ use coffee shops to work in. And how on earth can you be one of those without a Mac? I’m not disputing their worth, but why should a regular old laptop hinder emotional stability when sitting down to a burnt meatball ‘panini’ and a double-shot Americano? We Microsoft users are a minority in this field, a down-trodden one at that.

On so many occasions have I sat and stuck out like a sore thumb, as spectacles gaze transfixed that somebody with a Toshiba could possibly think to join them in their ethical palace of artistry. Dare to tarnish the hub of Spotify playlists and Instagram.

Well, as much as a Mac elevates you up the coffee shop social scale, those without should not be made to feel unwanted by the elite. Recently, I’ve taken to making sure my Windows opener is on full blast every time. Made sure to hit shift so hard those nearby think they’re sitting next to a five-year-old playing a cheap keyboard. For a MacBook does not elevate you to to coffee shop brilliance.

So move up with your cinnamon latte, please. It’s December. Yes, this is a dusty Toshiba and I’m going to sit here and write about you. And that’s not how you spell Hamas, by the way, before you tweet that sentiment.

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