Rode in the city in a quiet uber, through the dark streets and to the restaurant. Outside in their uncovered patio, the black sky is my ceiling. I feel like I wandered onto a movie set. Or like I’m an actor in someone else’s play, and someone else’s life. Maybe my ears are still plugged from the dissent, so all sound is muffled like it’s coming from an old recorder. The patio feels like a movie set. Are these real bricks, real windows, real balconies? Is this a real cool breeze, real shadows, real glow from the lamp light? My back to the wooden staircase, paint is peeling off the railing. The waitress talked me into a sangria.
By 10:30pm I was at Cafe DuMonde. I feel like I’m in Leopold‘s in Mumbai. Here I imagined a quaint French café with coffee and donuts. I’m here on Wednesday night along with 300 people. I know the drill now. Sit down anywhere. The server comes up. Order from the menu taped to the napkin dispenser. They bring it to you in one minute. You pay in cash with the tip. The giant TV truck just passed us, like in Tokyo. And all is illuminated for a brief moment. Mostly there are large groups here. Fours fives and sixes. Loud crowds, showing no signs of waining. But I am. I am due for sleep. The hours upon me. I long to return home now. Sangria worn off. Belly full. Sugar crash coming on. Ready to go home.
- Excerpt from my diary, April 11, 2018