Take me for example. I used to actually feel guilty saving money. I thought it was some kind of admission that I was cheap or something. These days, with my income? I need to save money every single day. It’s one of the tools I use to get through the day. I’ve actually developed quite a skill of saving money whenever I can. One thing I’ve noticed in doing this daily ritual is that – underneath it all – if we’re not careful, we’re all being ripped off somewhere every day.
So, I don’t have an office. My “office” is my local Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Peets or my local independently run hipster coffee house. I’m a writer. I need a place to work, access to coffee, free Wi-Fi, and, as I’ve said in other blogs, a place to work where there are other people around me. Perhaps because writing is such a lonely enterprise. Ever since moving to New York City in 1991, when I domiciled at the legendary Hotel Chelsea, where some of the former residents included Mark Twain, Arthur Miller and Dylan Tomas, and started going down each night to the Caffe Reggio (two “f’s”), I knew writing was my mark on the world. Just next door was the legendary Comedy Cellar, where newish comedians Ray Romano, Jon Stewart and Sarah Silverman would work out to NYC Village crowds. I sat at my little marble table, with the latest gizmo, a one megabyte Everex laptop.
Nobody could stop me. Nobody had to give me permission to be on their stage. I had my own stage; my mind. And my fingers danced the ballet of beautiful and dangerous unexplored combinations. I was hooked. Now that I’m a writer for a living, I have to think more like a businessman. And since I need the Wi-Fi and the table space and the air conditioning and the most important thing, a space to work away from home, I’m a volunteer slave to coffee houses. And literally selling words, I need to keep costs down. A penny a letter. That’s why I order coffee in a very precise way.
For years I would do like millions of others do and order a Starbucks “Grande” (medium) coffee “with room”. With room meant that instead of filling my coffee cup all the way to the top, they leave about a half an inch so that I can put milk in my coffee the way I like it. Only recently did I figure out that is unfair to me. Why should I pay for 100% of something yet only receive 85% of it?
That’s why what I do now is order a Grande coffee in a Venti (large) cup. Let them pay for the extra paper for the cup and let me have all the coffee I pay for. Does it save me thousands of dollars a year? Probably not. But I bet it does save money somewhere down the line. And, after all, if you can’t be creative in your life as you are on paper, you’re really missing half the fun in life.
For The Hollywood Dog, this has been Steven Alan Green, 4/19/17