First thing I do in the morning is eye where I left my glasses the night before and stick them on. After so many years of doing this, donning a pair is second nature. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an eventual end, or break one day when your daughter sits on them. So, last Thursday, I spent the morning in at least 5 different shops in search of new frames that would say “smart, yet funny” “brave, yet wise,” to any casual bystander. That or “darn awesome glasses that girl has on!” That would work too.
Afterwards I sought the nearest cafe exhausted from the emotional toil of the vast, yet bewildering selection. So many possible frames, 99% of them round; if you were dreaming of round plastic frames in Icelandic blue, you’d find them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t looking for those because I look ridiculous in round frames, even though I’ve tried, only to find the Universe laughing back at me. So, getting nowhere, I retreated to the cafe to shake off what I suspected was the trailing influence of Harry Potter, even after all these years.
I was standing in the entrance way acutely aware that I was in the way. Since I was trying to decide whether to stay where I was on the heater-warmed terrace and deal with the smokers or proceed inside proper, my hesitation was legitimate, even if two of the waiters trays whizzed menacingly close to my head. The sun was out so I jostled my way through little crowded tables and plopped down on the terrace.
The Cafe Bonaparte faces the heart of St. Germain square, the old church to the left, the other famous literary cafes just in front and along rue St. Germain, the Louis Vuitton store to the right, so there is always plenty of action. On this particular afternoon, there was also a delivery truck parked in front and a few cars behind blaring horns, a cyclist that shook his head as this happened, and some people speaking English to my right.
Which made me turn my head as I bumped thru the crowded sunny terrace spying a table making a bee-line. I met the guy from New York next to me because I plopped down onto his hat. He’d put it on the empty chair next to him, which, in Paris, is a dangerous thing to do. Blame it on faulty frames. But I hadn’t chosen any yet. However, you could blame it on the dog who happened to be with me even though she’d been no help in the optic shops. She loves cafes. She equates them with unlimited crumbs, and probably unlimited other sundry pieces of food, but that’s not pleasant to think about.
Anyway, at that moment when I should have seen the hat, most likely I was reining in the dog or telling her to behave, which of course, is useless banter. Luckily, wool hats, unlike steel black frames, are not usually breakable, and the dog did smooth things over somewhat with her sly trick of looking up amid messy white fluff with big “Who me?” eyes.