I thought it was hard to find a café yesterday, but today is Armistice Day and the task is comparably difficult. Some places were open but closing early. A woman at the last café I tried told me the espresso machine had already been turned off, and then laughed and said I could have a cold one. No thanks.
The place I finally found looked closed, but I could see someone moving around inside. There are no other customers here. Some people are doing work in the back dining room, which I suppose is the only reason they are open at all. A few minutes ago a little crooked-tailed Chihuahua put his paws up on the adjacent chair so he could get a look at me, and then he moved on to more interesting things.
French soft pop songs are playing on the radio, which could be considered a little loud, but I like French soft pop. Variété française, I guess, is the official term for this music. Right now the song playing is that one with the twangy chorus in English: "All the things you do, make me crazy 'bout you."
My window-side table has a peachy marbled top and is big enough for four people. A goofy cartoon camel looks at me from the bottom and sides of the glass ashtray. The espresso here is served with a packet of three sugar cubes. The chairs are dark wood with straw seats; the walls are pastel green with dark green on the edges and a lone, dark green column stands in front of my table. It's nice having the whole place to myself, sun shining in through the window, and accordian music from the Amelie Poulain soundtrack playing on the radio makes a perfect French café experience complete.
A little boy swaggers down the street holding a toy machine gun. Happy Armistice Day.
Metro: Maisons-Alfort - Les Juilliottes
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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