Dream of: 17 December 2003 "Fleeting Pleasure"

Carolina and I had gone to an appealing little bar, someplace we had never frequented. The walls were rough-hewn brown wood, lending a comfortable rustic air to the place. Couches were interspersed among the brown wooden tables. I made my way to one of the couches (leaving Carolina to fend for herself) and plopped myself down. I sunk so far down in the couch, a coat lying on the back of the couch fell over my head, and I bemusedly pulled it off, wondering what people must think of my clumsiness. Someone sitting behind the couch took the coat and put it somewhere else.

I picked up a menu. I planned to buy some dark beer. I had already drunk a couple beers and thus was in good spirits. With the beer in me, I would definitely be more outgoing with the people around me. Already I felt like talking, and seeing a woman sitting next to me on my left, I jovially asked her if she knew where the beer was located on the menu.

She seemed friendly enough; she responded, but I couldn't quite understand her. I spoke again, and when she responded again, I finally realized she was speaking French. Seeking my bearings, I slowly realized that several women were sitting there together and that they were all speaking French. My mind seemed a little dull and slow, but I blurted out a few words in French, and slowly and laboriously joined in their conversation. I couldn't tell whether they were impressed that I could speak some French, but I was impressed with myself.

I asked the woman on my left if she spoke any other languages. I could definitely speak Spanish better than French and if she could speak Spanish, maybe we could switch over to that language. But, still speaking French, she told me French was the only foreign language which she spoke, and she explained a little about how she and the other women would regularly meet like this to practice French together.

I was still concentrated on finding the beer in the menu and directed the conversation toward my quest. Finally I realized that one of the women had repeated the word "sept" several times, and that she was trying to tell me that the dark beer was located on page seven of the multi-paged menu. She finally asked me inquiringly in French if I even understood the word "sept."

By now I did have my bearing, and I began speaking French much more volubly with the women. The words were flowing and I was definitely enjoying myself. Of course I knew my pleasure wouldn't last: these women were probably in their 30s and when they learned I was 51, their interest in me would probably decrease. And of course Carolina would probably show up at any moment. Once the women realized I was married, they would probably show less interest. But I tried to put the negatives out of my mind and simply concentrate on the moment, because for now, at least, I was definitely enjoying myself.

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