Today I visited one of the most beautiful cafés I have ever entered.
I spent all week working on my new novel and hardly talking to a living soul. I found my resulting hermetic and dopaminergic state of mind highly conducive to writing, but when the weekend arrived I told myself it was time to visit the outside world.
So last night I went to a bar.
Well, that is to say, most of the evening saw me sitting in my cold flat wearing two sweaters and a blanket, drinking tea, chattering my teeth and procrastinating with Youtube videos, reasoning that I couldn’t go out because I don’t know anyone in Barcelona.
In the end, however, I became so hungry that I managed to boot myself out of the door to search for food.
After eating, I forced myself into a bar. I was feeling seclusive and sleepy, and I didn’t want to be there. But I forced myself to talk to strangers. As a man, no one will seek you out. Your entire life can pass without anything happening except for winning second prize in an online game tournament or something. If you want to see the world you must take initiative. I had an image in my mind of Barcelona remaining closed to me as I work on my novel, and that when I leave in a couple of months, I will only know the route between my apartment and the supermarket. I was determined to destroy that image. So I looked around, opened my mouth and said whatever came to mind.
The first people I talked to were not very friendly. But as I got used to the environment, I started to relax, and conversations came naturally.
In several conversations I admitted to having written at Starbucks for the last two days because the boiler in my apartment has broken and there’s no heating or hot water. I knew it was not a fashionable thing to say, and indeed I did get chastised. “Why do you go to them and their crap coffee,” one guy told me. I looked at him, not knowing what to say. There was a pause in which we looked at each other. “We Australians don’t like chains,” he said, as if to explain himself.
“I haven’t found any other café with suitable tables and not too much noise,” I answered, feeling that my words sounded like I was apologising, although I didn’t mean to.
It is important to state things as they are, however. Even if I’m not sure I’m happy with something I’m doing, I try to make myself state it. At least among people whose opinions of me is of zero consequence to my life. Because only when things come to light is it possible to work with them.
So I persisted. And indeed, the next person I talked to, a Spanish film director, said: “No, no, no! I’ll tell you where to go!”
And so it was that today I found myself entering the Cafe d les Delicies. I was blown away by its beauty and atmosphere. Yes indeed I think I will write there more than once. Pictures are below.