A nice, comfortable place. The chairs are wooden, with green painted art nouveau back slats and green seat cushions. The square tables are perfect-sized; the design on top has the visual texture of packing paper that has been aged and crumpled and then smoothed out again. The coffee came with a packet of two sugar cubes. There is a plastic green Heineken ashtray on the adjacent table, pinning down the receipt that has been folded and torn to express payment rendered in full.
A old woman in a blue sweater with a knit bonnet pulled tight down over the top of her head walks back and forth outside a couple of times, mouth open to reveal that, apparently, she only owns one tooth, positioned in the upper right corner of her gaping maw.
An odd pair sit at the tables near me, including a tiny old woman who is almost completely blocked from my view by a huge, loud, scary amazon-type with wild black hair and a white dress. The force with which she ordered her coffee and a glass of water made everyone in the place jump, at least internally. They don't seem to really know each other, but the large noisy woman is intent on interrogating her small, old, new friend, and it is unclear whether or not the older, elegantly-kerchiefed woman is enjoying the experience. The amazon calls her "mamie," and gives her a token of affection, a little gift of some sort that I cannot see and yet cannot help but be aware of because of the ongoing bullhorn-type narration by my big-boned neighbor.
Outside a woman in a black lace top with a wicker basket under her arm stands patiently while her unleashed golden retriever sniffs a canine passer-by. As soon as the two dogs get a bit animated, it's time for the little encounter to end, and the other owner pulls his white dog away down the street in the opposite direction.
On one of the wood-panelled columns is an framed Coca-Cola ad from an old magazine; it depicts a man and a woman clad in swimsuits reposing on the beach, each holding a bottle of soda. Under that is a small poster showing the various bills and coins of the Euro, "our money." Across the street an Aubade lingerie ad featuring a woman's headless torso says, "If he resists, practice hypnosis."
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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