Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Café: an essential stopping place for an urban flâneur

When an urban flâneur becomes weary of wandering the streets, s(he finds himself a café that offers the best vantage to observe the outside street and the inside activity.  The flâneur always has in her/his possession, a book, a notebook and maybe a camera if s(he is an urban flâneur photographer. 

The flâneur makes reads furtively when the scene is boring or writes in a notebook of his/his observations, but is always watching the inside and outside activity.  Sometimes, s(he is fortunate to overhear conversations.  

The following might be some of the observations of a flâneur while siting in a  café:

There is the couple looking at webpages on a laptop

Another couple are holding hands across a table and talking quietly.

A student who is reading a textbook in the corner.

The old man who is circulating from table to table stricking up conversations with whoever will listen.

The young mother with a young child in a stoller having a pleasant a conversation with a friend.

On the street, people are passing on the sidewalk.

There are two retired gentlemen speaking Italian. 

The young teenage with a mobile in his hand talking in earnest with a friend while walking down the street, oblivious to the surrounding environment.

And.. there is one of your friends walking up and sitting down at your table.

Such is the varied, complex and rich environment that the urban flâneur observes contemplates..  and participates. A café represents a microcosm of the neighborhood and city that sh(e resides or is visiting. It can tell about it composition and diversity, giving insight to its participant observer..

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