I’m sitting in WeWork Labs, the shared office space I work in, on a late Saturday morning. It’s a big room, about half a Manhattan block across and with a warehouse ceiling hung with pipes and wiring. There’s a cleaning lady and me here right now. I can hear the sound of traffic from the street, but through the walls it’s muted, and there’s a barely perceptible ambient humming that sounds like a heating or A/C system. It’s a bright day outside, but we’re facing west and there’s a few clouds, so the light is gentle as it falls through the windows. The floor is hardwood, the tables are an unfinished light wood and there are monitors, cords, and computers everywhere. A few years ago a short story I was editing for a magazine had the line “the place was clear with space” describing a dance studio. I remember the line because I used it as an example of unintentional rhyming — something to be avoided — but it’s stuck with me, and sitting here I feel it’s appropriate: the place is clear with space.
The light is darker now; I think a cloud must have covered the sun. I’m here to do work on my startup idea. I’m planning to spend today doing design work, and maybe some programming: sketching out rough drafts and prototypes of what it will look like.
It’s a Saturday, and I’m working, and one of the anxieties in the back of my mind walking here was, what am I missing? What else is going on today, what other things could I be doing? I don’t lead a very adventurous life. Now I’m choosing on a Saturday to spend it in front of a computer and paper, sketching ideas.
I spend a lot of time on generalities. Talking about concepts. Imagining possible futures. Reasoning and explaining and using words and symbols. In a world of generalities, there’s never any satisfaction, because the absolute is always out of reach. It’s not right here, right now; it’s an idea of what tomorrow could look like.
So the lighting in the room, the sound of the cleaning lady rolling a chair, the background hum of the a/c, the slight taste of croissant still in my mouth, are calming to me. I’m still anxious — should I be here? Should I be elsewhere? But I can let that anxiety exist, just another flavor, a slightly bitter taste woven in with the other sights and sounds and feelings.
Time to work.