mountain journal 2003
Cafe Cermenati

Living in Lecco the bar was always a tempting draw on the way home. The only problem was that when the weather became cold all the outside tables were removed. Claustrophobic, with no space to hide from other people, I was forced into their space, their world. So how do you come to terms with that?; find an excuse, read a book, write a letter or write a diary and avoid really busy times. Avoid confrontation.

It's not like the bar was really on my way home, there had to be a very intentional detour to arrive there. But still the number of times I just walked by was high. So what was the attraction? There was a bar directly under my apartment, nice, trendy but somehow it lacked something. Perhaps it wasn't the place for a single person, perhaps I just wanted to see the lake. It was fortunate that the lake was close by, it provided excuse.

From the start this bar had always held an attraction, friendly staff, I could relax find a quiet corner and no one would bother me. That's what I wanted, to be able to walk in somewhere, and just sit, to hear voices that were not my own and to feel part, but to keep my distance.

Yes I suppose so, but for this I was always split. Perhaps I was just more happy to know who people were rather than to become aquatinted. What else? In general they were younger, but that wasn't it, the chunk agreed it had a good vibe, and we had tried other bars. I was thinking that I would be recognised if I turned up often enough, I had even gained good terms with the weekend morning staff, arriving for breakfast as I did just before mid-day seemed to be an expected event. Arriving late however was not my fault, it was those of the city.

I am there now, in the bar that is. They are playing Dire Straits, now I am really getting comfortable, I could almost pull on my slippers and fall asleep with a book in my hands. I don't know what they would think, probably that I some English fool and why am I living in Lecco? How strange.

Another thing about this bar is it is really quite trendy, even friends of the city agree it attracts more than its fair share of the beautiful people, but they can be kept at arms length, you can just look, you don't need to be involved. Isn't that what they come for? It is decoration, Christmas decoration.

Should writing get more fluid with drink, seems to be drying up, perhaps it is like exercise, I just need to wait for a second wind. Colin sent me a text about a trip to Wales, bivying in the snow under the stars. It's what keeps me going, experiences like that. Even when it happens to others you know instantly how it is. You know even though they did it it is also yours because at one time or the other you have shared it.

Yes I have made the acquaintance of two or three people in Lecco who I could call for a drink, but I am slow, very slow to arrive to personal terms with them. The fine moments like this are mine for now. Perhaps I will go crazy, perhaps I am making sense of why I am here. Still I sit here at my own table, writing and thinking, back to everyone. I could be at home, thinking what to do to this bloody site but this is so much more enjoyable, revealing, free and without having to think how to implement it. It's not just a bar which I am sitting in and this is just a silly piece of writing. No doubt by the time I write it up it will have been edited for better or worst, after all it is fairly random, it is a monologue, I am speaking to myself, I am trying to make sense of it. When he left Colin left instructions.. when I return they must know your name. When you walk in to the bar the will shout your name.. Well I don't think that's going to happen, but it's a nice thought.

But you know what, I never had half this much in Milan, I cannot think of a single bar I actually wanted to walk into, sit down and just think about things. Perhaps Lecco can become a home, perhaps my instincts have not led me astray, but how can you ever tell before it is to late. Now I am just killing time. I have to call my mum later, it's her birthday but she has gone out for the night and since I am an hour ahead I have to wait a bit. Not that I mind, it's nice to let my mind wander, to see what I am thinking. Now I have a mental block.

They have this space next to the bar, by all accounts it appears to be vacant, it would be a great spot for a small office, now there's a scary thought. That would really be putting down roots, it would be responsibility and here I am also thinking of a car and a dog! Oh no now they are playing Brothers in Arms, I might get all sentimental. Perhaps I should take time out to order another beer before it all gets too much. Heh heh heh what a life, I am doing a good job of avoiding to talk to anyone, but am I not getting bored by my own voice? To be honest it is the most relaxed I have been for a long time and I will feel more relaxed if I order another drink. I think tomorrow will be a late start. Oh well, work is a bit slow at the moment. Calling Elvis, gosh I had this, where did it go? Lost in the transition from tape to cd.

But back to the bar, after all that's where I still am, could I take some souvenirs, a table mat, a menu? But that would be stealing from an old friend. Should you only take souvenirs when you are sure that you will not return? Was Dire Straits a souvenir? A link to a time bygone, but that's just a link I created in my head. In the mean time people have come and people have gone. I have done more these two hours than I have done all day.