11 September 2009 at 9:00 Montpellier time
Well it's nine o'clock and I feel as if I stopped typing, I would fall asleep and awake at the same time tomorrow. Today, I has no official duties and I spent the day doing mostly what I wanted to do. I spent the early morning and late afternoon in my café, sipping some coffee, reading, talking with a friend, and enjoying the sights of Montpellier. I love it. No matter how small the cup of coffee is, it is always worth the 2.30 euros I have to spend on it. You are paying for an experience, a hot liquid massage somehow reaching each nook and cranny of your body, relaxing and gently guiding you through a chunk of time in your day. The sights, smells, sounds are all the same. Several times I have sat right across the street on a bench in the small park facing the café and the beautiful buildings lurking behind it. The seats are relatively as comfortable and you are only about twenty feet away from the café. Basically, nothing distinguishes the two positions other than that one looks into the park and one is actually in the park facing the café. Yet, the experiences are not representative of the distance or comfort of either situation. I could stay for hours in the café. After a short time in the park, I am ready to go. I cant't explain it. The café takes a hold of me, rendering me motionless for at at least an hour. I read, think, and do whatever else one could do planted in a seat. Everyone is curious about the french diet. How do they eat such high fat, high calorie food and stay a very healthy nation. I think I have cracked that one, they walk, a lot. However, I find the café more perplexing. What are they putting in their coffee? Some secret tranquilizer that immobilizes its' victims. That makes no sense. A person like me who sits in the café far longer than his cup of coffee takes the seat away from the next paying customer. I keep them from making more money off a potential buyer. Yet, they never stare you down for lingering or try to hurry you out the door. Often, you are the one who has to ask for the check, it is not waiting for you. Maybe, I like to go to the café here in France becuase I think it is an aspect of french culture. By going to a café, I am integrating, getting to know, and becoming part of the french system of life. I enjoy it because it makes me feel more in touch with the society I have felt alienated from since I arrived. Whatever it is, the kind waitresses, the tranquilizer coffee, or me posing as a frenchman, I can't deny its potency. It's wonderful, an everyday routine adding pleasure and relaxation to my unfamiliar world.
Other than the café stops, I spent my day catching up on e-mails and blogs. I had a wonderful oppurtunity to talk to my mother, it was so nice to hear her voice. It truly made my day. I took Suzanna to a couple of the places she hadn't seen yet. The aqueducts, the Promenade du Peyrou, the Jardin des Plantes, all looking just as beautifully as the time I first saw them. That's all I got, Bon Soir!