La Tourelle

December 29, 2002 - 3:30 p.m.

A short dog walked by the window wearing a leopard-skin shirt, which, needless to say, gave it a rather odd appearance, as though something had gone awry at the animal factory. The dog passed a woman who was wearing a coat with large amounts of fur around the collar and cuffs. She seemed a bit confused, because a couple of minutes later she came by again, walking the other way.

From within the café, an unseen dog started to bark every few seconds, it's owner getting more and more agitated by the noise his pet was making. After a while the man started to verbally reprimand his dog, "That's enough!" The dog was quiet for a while after that but then let out another bark, and the man decided it was time to go. As they left I saw that the dog was a brown, long-haired dachsund, and when they went outside to the crosswalk it encountered a similarly-colored cocker spaniel. The two dogs poked noses, but not in a friendly way, and then the cocker spaniel (the larger of the two dogs) shrank away timidly from the dachsund, which obviously had quite an attitude.

Tracy Chapman has been singing about talking about a revolution. The walls here are covered with large abstract paintings of multicolored geometric shapes. The lights have pastel-colored shades and hang in bunches; they are geometric as well: cones, cubes and cylinders. I'm sitting on a red velvet couch at a square, dark wood table, and mahogany chairs with red or gray velvet seats are spread about the place.

The waiter sprays the larger round table in front of mine with blue disinfectant and wipes it down. On my table, the ashtray is glass, bluish purple and round. The sugar for my espresso is of the powdered, maroon-tubed variety. George Michael is now singing "One More Try."

Outside, street cleaners take care of the parts of the sidewalk that the rain couldn't handle. Four round tables sit next to the café, accompanied by eight short metal chairs with ugly yellow woven plastic seats and backs. The sidewalk must be on an incline, because the rain water on the Mucha-inspired tabletops has collected on the same end of each table.

A bearded waiter is going around now with a pushbroom, doing his part to keep the place looking neat and tidy. A very nice place indeed, especially now that the barking dog is gone. The radio seems to be alternating between songs in French and English. At the moment Joe Cocker is singing "You Can Leave Your Hat On," and, appropriately enough, there's an old woman present sitting patiently in her camouflage hunting cap. She has been sitting there for quite a while now. What is going through her mind?

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La Tourelle
1 Avenue Foch
94160 Sainte-Mande
Metro: St-Mandé Tourelle
Phone: 01 43 28 33 08

Price of an espresso: 2 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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