I’ve ordered some lunch: a Caesar Salad and everything was going well until Babyhell started.

Babyhell can be defined as:

(1) The noise of a baby
(2) A baby nearby that might make a noise.

Today I experienced Babyhell 1

I was looking at a book on mindfulness and then it started; so I decided to write about it. Trying to write is hard. Trying to write to the sound of a baby is a great challenge. With this version of Babyhell, I put on noise reduction earphones; if I turn the music up, it’s the perfect antidote.

A few days ago, Elena served me my espresso and I flirted (voluntary) (sometimes it’s involuntary). Great: coffee, laptop and I’m ready to go.

Cafe Nero is a big place with a skylight, mahogany effect flooring and windows overlooking the Fulham Road. It was empty and I walked to the back, morning paper under my arm.

The next minute: Babyhell 2. I sat down on some faux leather seating, and opened the laptop. ‘Pretty empty,’ I thought. I saw Elena stacking the glass fridge with sandwiches.

Then a young mother came in. She was blonde, pretty and attractive. She ordered something; she had a stroller (pram). I felt an ever so slight tension on my stomach.

Then she came at me, like I’d done something to her; like a shark after blood. I mean she pushed this baby right in front of me, smiled and sat 2 seats away. Jesus fu**ing Christ! Just to recap, the place was empty, empty.

No need to panic. But then it started – a little gurgle, then a burble, then a gurble, then squeaky squealing. The mother looked up and smiled. I managed some kind of strange grimace. So on went the headphones and David Bowie, and I turned up the volume. No good – Babyhell 2 turned into Babyhell 1. I needed a cigarette.

I lit up and looked up at the Fulham library. There was sun everywhere and it was bright on the side of the building. Normal people wandered past; people that don’t sit alone for hours, writing in a dark corner of a coffee shop.

A bland Fulham mother walked passed with her beautiful little child. He stopped a few feet away, looked at me with wide eyes and said:

‘Smoking will kill you. You’re going to die.’

‘You’re going to die too,’ I said.

He ran off in fright behind his mother.

‘That’s a terrible thing to say,’ she said.

I lit another cig.

Then they went off, the woman tutting away, and nodding her head from side to side, as if to say – what a horrible little man.

Why am I doing this fucking writing business? Need to complete 600th draft of chapter 2 of memoir. Oh what fun: re-reading 9355 words that I have re-read endless times.

I sighed, flicked the cigarette away, and went back, changed seats, put on the headphones again and wrote. In the next exciting instalment of: Sitting Mournfully in Cafes – Chapter 2: How to write the perfect covering letter.

Want to become a master?

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