Comments on The French Waitress
Joined: Nov 11, 2007
Location: UK *up north somewhere*
Total Topics: 63
Total Comments: 195
Posted 12/23/08 - 5:58 PM:
Subject: The French Waitress
The French Waitress.
The cafe had probably changed hands. The lettering above the single pane that introduced the wandering consciousness of the passing pedestrian to the usual crammed space of table and chairs now announced some other title that would slip from his memory. If these places weren't the usually haunted chain affairs it would take a memorable incident to laser the text into his mind and his life rarely came up with memorable incidents. He had change in his pocket and decided his mind was better off with an additional dosage of caffeine having already had his morning cup watching the mass neurotic mind of western capitalism as represented by economic analysis drip through the coffee filter media brain with a little misery in the Third World thrown in to remind us how well off we really are ('so why don't we stop fucking complaining' his inner voice had rang out).
He did he usual delicate sweep between surfaces. In the chain coffee shops one could usually enjoy space to move, if not located in a central zone one might even fall into the welcome arms of an armchair or even sofa. Clearly someone had decided that people required interiors that bore some resemblance to their own living rooms when they got their caffeine fix or indulged in a cake slice habit; however, these remaining spaces that weren't chained to a 'chain' were short on room often and one's backside met hard wood usually. The waitress, after the usual pause that suggested he was searching the easy surfaces of consciousness to decide the form his fix would take, looked his way with her adjusted gaze which more or less showed interest. It would be filter; no latte or other cocktail of creams, milk, ice, fruit flavourings, syrup whatever new line that had issued from chain coffee consciousness that week. Just filter. It was quickly brought as no preparation was necessary and, as he had half expected, it tasted like mop bucket water. Still, here was an authentic coffee shop and the waitress was also, it seemed, an authentic French girl who, as fitted the stereotype, seemed largely unapproachable.
There was a man sat next to the counter reading a thriller of some kind though his attention appeared fixed on the girl. His mind went over his current knowledge on the normative male, female behaviour in social settings such as these. Was he a lover, a friend, her father? One side glance told him the man was older than her; she was slender, with thin hips and a an indentation in her freckled chin that his automatic recollection had been unable to resist. He watched her as she negotiated the narrow spaces as he often did if the serving girl was at all attractive as he sat alone in coffee shops half engaged with fiction or the daily analysis of 'what is' according to the collective.
Actually the man probably wasn't much older than himself he decided. There was a dash of grey in his hair and a slight bulge at the mid section; he suddenly pictured a lonely business man who was a gifted flirt lonely on some business trip in the city artfully seducing this girl. He too spoke French. He stood up now and gained her attention over the counter, talking; he now imagined himself an extra in a French art house movie. There were those silences between words, pauses that seemed allowed by, what he thought might be, a more refined European mentality. The speech and their attentions to each other did provoke such an atmosphere initially then he remembered all he had learned about human nature and that even if the French did allow one another pauses to think and profound moments of shared cosmic awareness this was mostly an effect of the movies they created and not a day to day reality of their lived awareness and relationships.
This inner dialogue continued in him as the man leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. Well they certainly were lovers he decided. Did her cleft chin explore his genitals last night? Well, if not last night then undoubtedly recently. Although the city had grown more cosmopolitan particularly with the heavy influx of Eastern European immigrants over the recent couple of years it was rare to hear a French accent and the fine strains of civilisation it seemed to represent. The lover left and she went back to her duties behind the counter; there was a heavy tread down the back stairs as she sortied for some supplies, she had to query a couple again over what their order had been just, he was sure, as they do in the movies. People passed outside the single large pane of glass, some half looking in with the natural curiosity of our species; there were a group of labourers who provided glances that probably always held some residue of aggression like filtered coffee always has a remainder of damp coffee dust. He wandered whether working men were as up tight in France and decided, his mind pondering universal human realities, that they probably were.
Sometimes, when in coffee shops, the serving woman would make eye contact with him; often there were kind or interested looks as he was still fairly young, well dressed, seemingly of contemplative demeanour (he usually had a book and assumed some women appreciated this, at least in an aesthetic sense). She, he allowed, was reserving her attentions for her boyfriend or whoever he was and so remained strictly within the parameters of the job at hand. Of course she was French and so he assumed 'difficult'; this didn't entirely seem a negative thing, he wondered about her complex demands, her moody veneer.
He stood up now. The small table seemed to pin him to the wall and he wrestled from under it and began negotiating the narrow lanes between the tables toward the counter. He had a chance to appraise her features, a little more closely this time. He realized now that he had sensed the man's presence almost immediately before and had automatically turned off any free-ranging gaze. She wasn't typically pretty and her figure was quite thin but hidden by the apron and loosely fitting clothes so may have held suprises. She was probably working there part-time to help her through school; he sensed an intelligence beneath the tasks at hand. He was polite and orderly, he thanked her as he left.
She paused just long enough to lead him to think that all that time he had been on interesting object in that coffee shop despite her assumed loyalty to the other man.
“Goodbye..” She said.
He was almost to late to say, “See you again.”