Le Mistral

April 28, 2002

Lots of excitement here this Sunday morning. Someone came into the café with a medium-sized dog, causing a smaller dog who was already here (and apparently thought he owned the place) to start barking, much to the dismay of his owner, who attempted to quiet it down by whispering sweet shut ups into its ear while trying to elegantly smoke his pipe at the same time. Finally the smaller dog got the hint and the barks degenerated into muffled yaps and then silence. Outside, the same white terrier has been walked by my window at least three times, the owner content to let it sniff the nose of every dog it meets, of which there are many. Today seems to be Let's See How Many Dogs We Can Have On The Sidewalk At The Same Time Day, which seems to be the rule for most days in Paris, rather than the exception.

A couple of jokers in fluorescent green uniforms turned on the water main on the street and let the water flow down the edge of the curb, a rolled up green mat blocking most of it from going the wrong way. Then they walked off. More important things to do somewhere else, I guess, or maybe their job was done for the day and they were perhaps satisfied with their day's work. The water has since stopped flowing, and only the green mat remains to serve as a reminder of the minor flood that only a few minutes ago was raging away and washing off all the dirt from the gutters of Paris or, at least, the dirt that happened to be in this gutter in the designated direction. It's raining now anyway.

On the minor outjut of wall to my right is a poster of a seemingly constipated man apparently named Christian Marin, who is now performing at the Vingtiène theater and who has a blue hummingbird superimposed onto his right index finger.

I am cold, sitting next to the windows, unprotected from the gusts of wind that emanate chronically from the opening and closing of the front door. There are two front doors, actually, but only one is unlocked. Inevitably, everyone who comes in first tries the locked door, sometimes repeatedly, before realizing they can get in the other way. Inexplicably, the man who works here placed a table just inside the unlocked door which created a nice bang effect when people opened the door too far, until some conscientous patrons sitting nearby moved the table to a position less contradictory to people trying to get in the place.

The radio has been something of a joy. Right now, Sinead O'Connor is singing "Nothing Compares 2 U." Earlier, Stevie Wonder performed a rendition of his catchy "I Just Called 2 Say I Love U" and Queen serenaded everyone present with "Bohemian Rhapsody." Not to mention all the pop French hits that I don't yet know the name of (or artist, for that matter). Needless to say, I have been tapping my toe for quite a long time now.

The place has filled up. I am sitting in a frontal area that has small circular marbled-top tables and cane wicker chairs with black and green patterns woven into the back and seat. My coffee cup and saucer are emerald green rimmed with shiny gold. A three cube sugar packet was served with my espresso to my surprise and delight (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I was happy). A plastic green -- do I dare to say it -- Heineken ashtray sits on my table as well, taking up a bit too much of the space that was limited to begin with.

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Le Mistral

 

Price of an expresso: 1.60 euros

Sugar: packet of 3 sugar cubes

 

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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