If Satan ever walks across the scorched earth and punishes the human race to suffer through the show Friends all over again, I know the perfect person to cast as the updated character of Asshole on Mac Book. It's you, playing the role you've perfected. You're the idiot that thinks buying a $2 drink entitles you to six hours of uninterrupted work. No tip, no scone or homemade gluten-free cookie. Just a cup of coffee and the deed to the corner table, please. As if that's how any business in the world has ever worked. I can only imagine your shock at the end of a steak dinner when the bill doesn't include three months lodging with off street parking.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong. There seems to be a lot of you. An army, in fact, fighting over outlet plugs the way hyenas rush a freshly slaughtered water buffalo. As soon as one of you gets up, another one slides in. Same matching satchel, same matching vacant personality, same ambition to petrify right then and there in the glow of your laptop. Comets circle the earth and come crashing back before a table opens up. Seats are willed down to grandchildren by octogenarians reminiscing about the last time they actually bought anything there.

And the first thing you've got to do is set yourself down at the biggest table in the joint because how could anyone watch YouTube videos without six empty chairs around. Seriously, it's a table that could host the Last Supper and you've claimed it as your own while a group of four elderly women huddle around a table the size of a spare tire. But forget them, you've got an empty paper cup and squatter's rights.

You might not realize this, but coffee shops existed before wifi, that people once used these very tables for more than holding a computer. So the next time you're rudely interrupted, instead of scowling at the people with the audacity to hold a conversation, try to remember that this is a public meeting space and not your own temple for monastic silence. Just because they aren't suffering through a cram session of nursing school PowerPoints or writing some bogus novel or coding some weird crap doesn't mean they're bad people, it just means that you're being a prick. Yes, people have always worked at coffee shops, but I really doubt that Hemingway sat hunched over in some French cafe wearing noise cancelling headphones and scrolling through Facebook.

Don't tell me for a second that a coffee shop provides a special environment conducive for getting work done, that there is a certain je ne sais quois about their Pandora station or their chalk board menu. What's the formula that cannot be found elsewhere? A table, a chair, a wifi password like "pumpkin latte," and a little peace and quiet? Have you tried your own home or do you live in a Burger King ball pit?

You are a tumor, a swollen tapeworm. At the very best you work there unnoticed, but you're always there, hanging around like a fart cloud. But hey, I'm writing this in a coffee shop with an empty cup and a couple thousand tweets to read before I even think about getting up. So to each their own.

– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)

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