How to claim your territory at Caffe Strada

Omil Xia/Staff
Omil Xia/File

It’s freezing outside — OK, 50 degrees, but freezing nonetheless. Sunday at 2 p.m. is that time of day when everyone finally decides to write the paper that’s due Monday morning, making every coffee shop uncomfortably sticky and hot because of the massive amount of people. It’s also the time of day when you, of course, really should be studying. Unfortunately, you can only be productive in a specific spot in Doe Library or that one table at Caffe Strada that always seems to be taken. So what are you, a poor, cold and also slightly lazy UC Berkeley student, to do at a time of such crisis?

Let’s backtrack to your fourth-grade soccer team. What did the parents yell constantly from the sidelines? BE AGGRESSIVE. In order to claim your special table and chair, your best option is to just really commit. If you see someone else making a beeline for that table (obviously they would, it’s clearly the best one), a little side eye would do you some good. If that’s not enough, a hard stare or full out glare should also do the trick. This is best supplemented by you holding a pen in a threatening position. If you’re not too scary in appearance, then maybe try some light nonsensical yelling or barking — yes, actual barking. If you make enough noise without context, people will generally leave you to your space.

We at the Clog have another trick to convey the depth of the relationship you have with your table or desk to whomever is trying to take over your territory. There’s a reason you’re only productive in that one spot. You and your table have shared spilled coffees, stress-induced meltdowns and the feelings that come when you type that last word of your research paper. How can anyone even think to part the two of you? When you’ve shared such moments with a table, it’s only right that you should claim it for the rest of your time here. So if anyone tries to steal your spot, it’s basically infidelity. If you calmly and politely explain this to whoever had the gall to take your spot, you should have no problem maintaining your relationship and your study space.

There’s going to be times when you can’t be with your table. The best thing you can do to keep your claim to this table is to set up a rotation schedule with people you trust. For every hour of every day that you can’t be with your table, you should assign a babysitter to it. The people who look after your table should be slightly menacing in order to ward off anyone hoping to share your space and people who you know might form an attachment to it. Placing a sign-in sheet and a “reserved” sign on the table during bathroom and coffee breaks could also be useful. There should be a clear understanding that your babysitters are simply watching your space, not sharing it by any means. Unless, of course, you are open to sharing, but that is a personal decision. By ensuring that someone you know is with your table at all times, you eliminate any threat of outsiders.

If you are the kind of person that can be productive anywhere, please know that you’re truly lucky. So, as a service to all of us looking to work at that one cubicle at Main Stacks, that inside table close to the door at Strada or that chair we’ve become personally attached to at Moffitt, please just stay home. Or at least stay away from my table.

Contact Gillian Perry at [email protected].