Monday, April 2, 2007

Cafe Terrace At Night

Written by Bob

This is where I come to write.

Well, not at night you understand, for it would be considered terribly improper and unsociable in these parts to sit alone being studious when the sun has dropped below the horizon; besides, nothing I write would be legible the next morning, as a man sat alone in a café of an evening is an open invite to all to pour copious amounts of red wine down his throat.

So it is sometime around midmorning, when the waiters have finished hosing down the pavements from the night before and laying out the tables outside just so, when the specials have all been written up by hand and the board propped up outside the door and the smell of freshly brewing coffee wafts around the village on the breeze greeting you and drawing you in, that I find myself here, coffee cup in one hand, pen in the other and deep frown etched onto my forehead.

It is where I come to fill these dauntingly blank pieces of paper with words; to try to herd all of those thoughts and ideas wandering around inside my head in to some form of order and then coax them down on to paper, trapping them there in that inky prison before they can escape. More often than not it is a like trying to herd sheep through a marsh. There is always one that gets stuck, that stands in fear of being committed to paper bleating at you tantalisingly in the distance; but you know, if you go back for it and dig it out you run the very real risk of losing all the others, of coming back to find that they have scattered, gotten lost or fallen off the cliff without your guidance to keep them going. And so you leave it to its watery grave and turn your attention to the others, making sure that no more get lost on the long journey from brain to paper.

Several cups of coffee and later, the sheep that could be saved safely captured in note book, it is time to reward a mornings hard brow-furrowing with a trip to buy the same newspaper from the same shrivelled old woman who still treats me like a perfect stranger every time I see her, despite buying the same paper from her every day for the last 5 years, and then maybe stop for a quick cup of coffee on the way home for my siesta.

The day she acknowledges me is the day I’ll know the village has finally accepted me as a local.

It’s worth the wait.


Surviving Motherhood said...

You know, this is biggest thing I miss about mainland Europe. I love the cafe culture and right now I am soooo jealous!

Damn you!

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