The Wobbly Wooden Table.

"Wobbly table... and woolly hat."

A circular table rests before me in Starbucks, which I usually rest my netbook upon, to write. I have an agreement with myself that I always write through a minor level of discomfort, purely for the sake of staying alert; though I worry one day I might catch piles - but that’s another story altogether. 

Anyhow, this particular table is bothering me. It is – in layman’s terms, wobbly; the nightmare scenario of every writer. The cylindrical surface stands uneven in relation to the floor, and while slight discomfort is helpful, a full on pain in the arse, isn't. Knowing the problem is irrelevant in relation to the solution, I begin to consider how to make a wonky table, solid. 

I cannot change seats; Starbucks is - as usual, far too busy. I am also comfortable here, and feel moving would be an admission of defeat. Quitting writing is out of the equation; I have a long standing agreement with myself to finish a blog, once stared, and with only a couple of exceptions, have always succeeded. So after a few minutes thought, I decide to place a wedge in-between table and floor. Initially I slot a series of folded napkins between the gaps; they are forceful yet fruitless, and the table still arcs like a porch rocking chair in the blustery wind. I replace the napkin with a collection of cardboard cup holders instead; for a moment they work, then decide to slip out, every minute I adjust them back. Fixing a hole is clearly not the answer.

There are other avenues; I attempt to write using the table’s edges. I place my laptop upon a book. I even consider using a chair to write; giving up on that, as I see it as a justified action of quitting – that and this metaphorical pain in the arse, would give me an actual pain in the back. I could switch tables with an unknowing patron, but that would be selfish - and it isn't right to offload my problem onto an innocent bystander. All ideas fail. The problem it seems, is beyond my process of thought; which is difficult for someone who believes their brain can solve any problem to accept.

Facing the internal humiliation of defeat, I glance into the distance. A hooded Teenage-boy faces the same wobbly table issue as myself. In a flash, his hands clasp the tables side like a giant steering wheel. He twists the table one-hundred and fifty degrees to the right, and it works; standing rigid and firm. I smile to myself. In overcomplicating a simple problem, all I found were dead-ends; coupled with ten minutes lost, going down these roads. The lesson was very simple, and yet again, youth has unintentionally taught me a valuable lesson of life.

Sometimes, the answer doesn’t lie in changing everything on the surface; it simply comes from a slight change of the angle you view it from. Without this, I would never have been able to write this article. Without the wobbly table, I may never have learnt this lesson....



  1. God damn. I sit here at a Starbucks in a Barnes & Noble with the exact same problem. I tried an iPhone under the table base which worked for a bit, but made me nervous. I turned the table and it worked. Then I searched for "Starbucks wobbly tables" hoping to find other people complaining about it and found your post. We must take this problem to management.

    1. It's more of a metaphorical piece, using the table as a reference point. Starbucks do their best, and it's all a bit of fun really.

    2. Yeah I wasn't really suggesting filling a complaint. I just found it funny and relatable. Have a good 4th.

    3. Thanks Josh. it was only after I figured out you were being humorous - slow brain day. Have a great one too! And happy 238th birthday from across the pond!