March 25, 2007

Cafe Mundi

I like to sit outside at the Cafe Mundi when the weather's nice. A four-season patio shaded by crepe myrtles and bordered by bamboo. Baby palm trees and bronze and stone sculptures. Movies on Monday nights, music most other nights, art exhibits on the interior walls. Grackles in the trees, their droppings dotting the cement tables. (Well, sorry, this is a realistic blog.) Excellent Greek salad with organic mixed greens, and sandwiches and breakfast specials, and surprisingly tasty vegan pastries. Fancy beer, unfancy wine, yerba matte, Mexican soft drinks, Italian syrups, the whole shebang. It's hard to find, on a back street in a warehouse district in east central Austin. Lots of inexpensive Mexican restaurants and cantinas; a recycling center; a film production studio; a new mixed-use complex of apartments and boutiques, spottily rented.

I sit reading Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris and Althea Horner's The Wish for Power and the Fear of Having It, both of them revelatory in their different ways. I focus my ears and keep my head half-turned from the conversation at the next table, which I am eagerly straining to hear: two women, seasoning their talk liberally with profanities, analyzing a friend who has an exhibit opening somewhere but, judging from what they say, appears to be a pitiable creature unable to advance herself in the world without their advice. All my life I have loved to listen in.

My self-image is of someone twenty years younger than these people. How long can a human being keep deluding himself?

The view across the street.

UPDATE: Cafe Mundi has a website. (h/p: reader iam)

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