Le Carré

September 23, 2002 - 3:30 p.m.

Madonna is singing for me to express myself, and with each new pop song the music here seems to be getting louder. Now the female server (who is dressed like a druid or ancient goddess) has turned the music down a little bit. She seems to be on break at the moment, smoking a cigarette at a table near the bar with five guys. Her long hair is in pigtails, and her white top is off-center, exposing the small tattoo on her left shoulder blade. The male server, in a red and blue shirt, is still at work trying to take care of the thirty or so customers about the place.

My tabletop is square, an association of four triangles of perpendicularly-angled wood grain meeting in the middle at a metal square where their inner tips should be. The table to my left is similar, except round. I'm sitting in one section of a wall-length minimalist sofa, and the low-backed chair on the other side of my table has the same purplish-brown upholstery for its cushions. At the round table the chairs are the same, except they have three sides and an edge around top so that they can better resemble armchairs.

Three sets of transparent light bulbs hang from the ceiling in groups of sixteen, each bulb hanging from its own cord. A multipart metal column rises up in the middle of the place like a curved puzzle with pieces left out so that parts of it can be used as shelves. A banner of chainmail climbs up one wall, crosses the top of the room (punctured squarely in the middle by the column), and then drops back down the other side behind the shelves of the bar. A similarly hung banner of brown fabric hangs perpendicular to the first, crossing over it where the two meet. The ceiling is violet-blue.

On my table is a metal ashtray, square with four differently-sized notches and a round hollowed out sphere-shaped space inside. The espresso cup says Jacques Vabre and so did the packet of sugar cubes. I was also given a little bar of dark chocolate. I ate lunch here, the mushroom salad, which included chilled mushrooms formed into the shape of a mound surrounded by little unfortunate fatty pieces of ham. After eating I ordered the espresso, and thankfully I wasn't in a hurry, because it must have taken twenty minutes (and the waiter coming back to verify the order) before I finally got it.

The sun has decided to make an appearance this first day of fall, and people are sitting at the tables outside whose tops are amalgamations of wooden slats held together with metal frames. The chairs, too, are artful compilations of wooden strips with metal edges. I'd be sitting outside, but when clouds block the sun I'm sure it's freezing out there.

The bar counter is lit up from within, glowing orange glass. A painting hangs near the door, abstract red and yellow, a fireball hitting the ocean, either the beginning or end of the world.

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Le Carré
Metro: Hôtel de Ville

Price of an espresso: 2.00 euros
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes
Bonus: small bar of dark chocolate
Price of mushroom salad: 7.50 euros

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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