*insert picture of chemical structure of octane here because the site won’t let me post one*

Today I ventured to Octane in Grant Park, a cute little bakery and coffee shop combo I had never been to before. As I entered the first of two double doors, a sharply-dressed woman welcomed me in by holding it open for me. Upon reaching the next door, I had an awkward encounter with a man as each of us attempted to be more chivalrous. Eventually, I entered the shop. The full floor to ceiling glass windows, in combination with the sunny day, made the café seem welcoming, light, and airy. Several people, bored of their work, looked up to see who had entered, but they neither welcomed nor unwelcomed me with their glances. Jars filled with cookies were featured on one side of the counter, but I didn’t know what the label, “sablé”, meant, as I don’t speak French. When I looked it up with google translate, I found that it means “a shortbread biscuit”. This language barrier was inherently unwelcoming, although the jars were clear so it was easy for me to infer. When I ordered one of these aforementioned “sablés” for $0.75 (a price that welcomed my current financial position), the barista smiled at me and inquired warmly about my day (although I think that mostly that was due to the fact that he had just turned the tip screen in my direction). The chill, indie music (Mac DeMarco, Beach House, Jack Johnson) was loud enough to drown out the talking of other people while not conflicting with my studying. Most of the café was filled with hip, fashionably-dressed 20-somethings studying solitarily and I stood out in my Marlow’s uniform: a black shirt with lettering and jeans. The furniture was very modern and minimalist in that sharp, uncomfortable kind of way and my butt soon grew sore of sitting in a metal chair. After a couple hours of studying, I left. A woman in a car inquired if I was leaving in order to obtain my parking spot, and thanked me profusely when I said yes, as if I had left for her. Overall, it was a good experience and it was somewhere I would return to study again, although maybe with a seat cushion.

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