If you want to sit in a café, but you don't want to order anything, the trick is to slide into a table immediately after someone has vacated it. Appropriate their empty cups and/or glasses, and try to give off the air of having been there a while. Chances are you will never be bothered by the server. Of course, I don't mind having an espresso when I come to cafés, but the occupant of the table I wanted wandered off at just the right time, and his abandoned cup and saucer (the cup was not quite drained of fluid -- who can't finish a simple espresso?) rendered the table completely invisible to the waiter. I could see him sometimes across the room glance over at this section and then look away again after ascertaining that all the occupied tables had beverage containers on them. The glance was so quick I had no chance of flagging him down. I decided to move the cup and saucer onto the table next to mine, thinking that I could then pass myself off as Someone Who Had Just Sat Down. Unfortunately the waiter had switched over to Ignore Everyone Until Someone New Comes In The Door mode, and since no one came in, there was no reason for him to come anywhere near here after that. Half an hour later, I went over to the bar and ordered the coffee myself, grumbling internally about having to get up and still pay full price for the service. Oh well, I still get to occupy the table for a fairly long period of time, though it is nicer when one's Comfortably Sitting Down time is not interrupted by Having To Get Up And Walk Over To The Bar time.
One of the reasons I wanted this table is that it is square and larger than most of the other tables, and it is up against the front window, which gives me maximum light and Potential Interesting Things to see outside. These windows aren't well insulated, though, so I had to put my coat back on as a side effect.
Another side effect of appropriating a recent departee's table is having an unclean ashtray hanging about -- this one is of the blue plastic Camel variety and contains a lone cigarette stub as well as the corresponding ash. Other inhabitants of the table are an unopened maroon tube of powdered sugar and my receipt, which the waiter cleverly folded/crumpled into an origami shape, though I'm not sure what it is supposed to resemble -- a coal mining car without the wheels, perhaps? A squarish watermelon slice?
The lottery tickets are calling to me to buy one. I think it might be my lucky day.
NOTE: It was not my lucky day.
46 bld de La Vilette
01 42 40 54 06
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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