Written by Lori Thiessen

I turned up for a meeting with the coffee shop office project team at, you guessed it, a local coffee shop a couple of weeks ago. Aaron Cruikshank, the survey guru for the project, spotted me dragging my medium-sized wheelie behind me and quipped, “Are you running away from home?”

Because the project has grown over the past few months, I schlep around more and more stuff. I’ve graduated from a simple letter-sized portfolio to this well, piece of luggage that I’ve used for week-long trips. It works as my portable office. I have everything in it because being slightly anal retentive, I don’t want to be caught without having whatever we may need for the meeting from my collection of articles to a stapler. Overkill, do I hear you cry? Why do you need so much STUFF? Well, it’s just my thing and fortunately, I have the arm and back strength to deal with it.

Now most people I see in coffee shops who are clearly working away on stuff either sport a briefcase or a backpack of some sort. For sheer attention grabbing value, there’s nothing like clattering in with a medium to large size wheelie, then maneuvering to a table. After choosing a table, the disemboweling begins. Out comes the laptop, and the cords, possibly a keyboard and mouse along with whatever sundry office supplies you might need. And of course, the iPod and earphones.

Then comes the chore of stowing your luggage carefully out of the way of other coffee shop customers. If your wheelie is tall enough, it can become a makeshift credenza to hold papers or other stuff you may want within reach. But just make sure that you’ve ordered your coffee before you set up camp. It can be quite embarrassing, annoying or funny to climb over your pile of stuff to get to the counter… and then back again.

For a while there, I thought I was the only fool, um, genius, to come up with this idea, but I noticed that Office Depot is now stocking medium-sized, expandable wheelies as well as the standard briefcase and laptop case. So obviously, the idea is catching on.

As the population of java commuters grows, there could be a subgroup developing in support of their baggage encrusted lives: the urban sherpa. Just as Sir Edmund Hilary had trusty Nepalese sherpas to assist him on his ascent of Mt. Everest, the modern day java commuter may have his/her own personal urban sherpa to help ascend the summit of a successful java commuter career.

Q: What kind of stuff do you carry around with you and how do you carry it?

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll save your seat for you until next time.