On the Joys of Coworking

You exit the visa office eager to start you first day of work. You take the phone out of your pocket, open the browser and search for a coworking space. You scroll past "Coworking: the future of work" and "Reimagining work for the 21st century" until you come upon a promising link: a coworking space in your neighborhood. You click the link. The screen is blank, you are loading 8 megabytes of custom fonts. While you wait for the text, you stare at the image slowly filling up the screen. You are reminded of your childhood and the crackling of a DSL modem until a sweaty stranger bumps into you, breaking your reverie. The image is loaded—it's a photo of a brick wall.


You wipe the sweat from your forehead and start to scroll, scanning the text in that bottom third of your screen unobstructed by the sticky header. The scrolling is laggy due to a smooth-scroll JavaScript plugin. You search for the only pieces of information you care about: prices and opening hours. You skim the first paragraph that talks about "building a community of like-minded individuals". You skim the second paragraph that talks about "fostering an environment of collaboration”. You reach the bottom of the page where you are asked to book a tour of the space. No opening hours. No prices. You are furious.

You decide to walk there in hopes of convincing them to take your money. Luckily, the place is nearby and ten minutes later you are standing at their front door. You open the door and step inside. The tables have been moved to the side of the room, a dozen people are sitting in the middle watching a presentation. Nobody is working. You look at the projector screen. The title is "5 Principles of Leadership in a Digital World". You stand there in angry resignation until you are approached by a girl in a dress, drinking wine from a plastic cup. She says hi. You wonder if she works here. You ask her "do you work here?". She says yes. You tell her that you were hoping to work here today. She tells you to book a tour of the space. You don’t need a tour of the space. You need an electrical outlet. You consider asking her to let you sit on the floor next to an electrical outlet, but decide against it. You tell her something polite and leave.

You take the phone out of your pocket, open Google Maps and search for "starbucks". Luckily, the place is nearby and ten minutes later you are standing at the counter. You take out your wallet with shaky overcaffeinated fingers. You order a hot chocolate. You sit down at your little round table, resting your tired legs. You take a sip of your hot chocolate; it burns your tongue, going down like a mixture of sand and sugar suspended in boiling water. You cough and take out your laptop. You cannot work. You open up your word processor and begin writing a blog post.

"What is coworking?" you write, "Coworking is a service that rents the use of an electrical outlet and a wifi connection." You close the word processor with a faint sense of vindication.