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is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

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« In Which It Happened That Night | Main | In Which Door to Door We See If They Can Win This One »
Wednesday
Oct292008

In Which They Must Eat Sardines

What Are We Looking For If Not to Please?

by Molly Young

The men at the next table are talking politics. "Nixon got elected because his head was so big," one of them says. Starbucks has emptied out and each occupied table makes a conspicuous contribution to the ambient noise.

This is how I hear the couple next to me speaking Portuguese. A man and a woman, each partner picking up exactly where the other left off so there is no pause in conversation.

The two are short and dark, with the butter-dense volume of moneyed Europeans. Like Picasso. Thick and virile, even the women. They must eat a lot of sardines.

picasso.jpg

picasso & his wife

Anyhow. The woman is lovely.

She acts as though she’s young and beautiful, even though she’s not. It’s a kind of confidence that makes Americans resentful of Europeans. For them, I guess, looks are incidental to attractiveness. I’m generalizing here.

ava-jane.jpg

birkin, gardner

This is what I am thinking as I watch the Portuguese couple. They have drinks but barely touch them, and this strikes me as another important distinction between Them and Us. When Americans buy drinks, we drink them fast. My cup has been empty since I got here. I drank it quickly in order to finish it before I realized that I wanted something else.

dora_maar_au_chat.jpg

dora maar au chat

This, incidentally, is one of the reasons Americans love buffets. Because we think that satisfying an appetite is about having a lot of choices. Ditto malls. These things prey on the anxiety that if you don’t get to see everything you’ll miss out.

But then, of course, that anxiety doesn’t go away even after you’ve seen everything. Instead you wind up feeling anxious AND glutted – a horrible combo.

laetitia-carol-alt.jpg

alt, casta

The Portuguese couple finish their drinks and get up to leave, still talking. The man takes his wife’s cup and throws it away for her. They amble out the door and I return to my Starbucks brochure that I found near the Splenda, and which I am reading because I forgot my book. It tells me that Starbucks offers up to 87,000 different drink combinations, and at the same time I read this someone orders a raspberry hot chocolate with gusto.

Molly Young is the contributing editor to This Recording. Her website is Magic Molly, and you can read her past work on TR here, here, here, here, here, and here.

"Until We Bleed" - Kleerup ft. Lykke Li (mp3)

"Chords" - Kleerup (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Personal ads are a tough business.

Absolutely the greatest Craigslist post ever.

Tess had a Carrie Bradshaw moment.

pomar_alm_trolha_46-50.jpg

julio pomar

Reader Comments (2)

I'll have the bombshell buffet please. (What if they were Brazilian?)

October 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHugh

[...] Molly in the coffee shop [...]

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