KB Coffee Roasters
I’ve found myself in KB Coffee Roasters near Pigalle. KB stands for Kooka Burra. For the record, I can fondly recall being hit by a kookaburra under a pavilion in Sydney, summer 2015.
I must walk to my work in an école maternelle in the vicinity of Sacré-Cœur, but not for a few hours. KB Café Shop, as they call it, receives a shining review from me because the windows are always open and no one tries to me débarrasser before I have walked out of the café and onto Avenue Trudaine. “Still working on it,” I’d have the urge to say in my native language if this were to take place. But in French, we don’t work on food, we let ourselves be tempted by it.
Today I enjoyed a scone with butter and jam in little cups beside my cappuccino. The carrot cake is also delightful. I can be tempted by more desserts than one but I don’t like thinking of food as something that is wrong or unwise to indulge in.
The carrot cake is gone now. Three other people are clacking keys on laptops at KB’s most central table. I sit alone on a bench in the corner of the café with three pillows. I am musing over how succumbing to temptation is too often considered a “mistake.” Something that must be remedied.
When people ask me why I enjoy living in France, I can provide a lengthy response, mentally ticking off a plethora of considerations. I’ve written essays on the conviviality of French eating rituals. But it all boils down to this: I truly believe that more things considered “temptations” by my North American counterparts are viewed as mere necessities here. It’s less subversive to take more time to do just about everything.
When people ask me why I don’t return to North America, I often reply, “C’est trop frénétique.” Would it not be a mistake for me to remain in an environment I found stressful? These are just preliminary remarks on my aversion to framing anything pleasurable as a temptation that must be denied. Call me a hedonist.
What was the last mistake I made, anyway? I guess I took the métro one stop too far this morning. I’m trying to think about something I really fucked up. If anything, it was when I was doing everything I Was Supposed To Be Doing that I felt the most miserable.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still days when it’s hard for me to find fulfilment or trust my own judgement whatsoever. I still have so many unanswered questions about what it is I’m doing here. But I have to live the questions and, above all, “live my way into the answer.” As Rilke suggests, “Perhaps you do carry within you the possibility of creating and forming … train yourself for that but take whatever comes, with great trust, and as long as it comes out of your will, out of some need of your innermost self, then take it upon yourself, and don't hate anything.”
When people ask me how I like my (fairly solitary, itinerant) life, I can certainly say, “I don’t hate it.”
C’est déjà pas mal and I’m grateful.