Ten years or so ago, Mr Tater and I went to Innsbruck. We had a car and we drove fast through the mountains and looked at stuff and just generally touristed around. Then at the end of each day we went to the same little cafe at the edge of a square, in front of a large old (duh, Europe… of course it’s old) church, and sat at the same table on the sidewalk and gave the same order in our mangled German (“Ein Stiegel, und ein Gin Tonic, bitte”) to the same waiter and watched the same show unfold in front of us across the street.
First would come the woman walking the two little dogs, left to right, away from the church. They never stopped to pee, or even to sniff (I meant the dogs specifically, but actually none of the three of them ever peed or sniffed). They just zoomed along, on their way to a very important meeting, no doubt.
Next came the nun – right to left, toward the church – old-school nun in full-on black and white, floor length habit, head flaps streaming out behind her as she went, little black nun shoes slapping in time with some inner tune.
Then a pause in the traffic, while we watched the man from the wine shop directly opposite the cafe write. He’d lock the door, then sit at a table in the middle of his shop with a glass of wine and a giant ledger. Maybe it was his journal, maybe it was the daily takings, maybe it was a romance novel about that nun.
Oooh – pay attention, it’s time for the wheeled vehicles. From right to left in a straight line, 3 schoolgirls on bicycles fizzing by and almost immediately after, a small door to the left of the wine shop would open and a young woman would lurch out onto the pavement with a baby carriage. We figured she must be coming downstairs from an apartment above the shop. She’d wrangle the carriage into position, turn to shut the door, and shove off to the right. We never saw the actual baby, just this enormous old-fashioned high-wheeled carriage.
Now it starts to slow down. Time to order another drink, maybe a nibble. The wine man would wrap it up at about this time, too; he’d close his big book, finish his wine, look around the shop and then exit out the back.
We saw all this activity on our first evening and thought what a busy little block this was. We came back the second night without really planning to, but as we were passing by, we saw the two-tiny-dogs woman, and decided to wait and see who else we recognized.
Waiter… drinks… NUN! Right on schedule! The same people , the same activities…day after day. We imagined that the same people, and before them their parents, and their parents before them, playing out this same scenario since the Middle Ages (maybe without the bicycles, though).
It gave us a very pleasant soothing feeling of continuity and constancy; we felt a part of it almost. We reminisce about it often.
And with that enormously long introduction … if I had a time machine/anywhere door, I’d go back to that little cafe on that square on one of those summer evenings in 2006, and then I’d go to the same place in 1906, and then in 1806…
In response to 2 days ago’s Daily Prompt:
Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?
That’s not our picture, and that’s not our cafe. But it’s close, and it’s pretty. Click for featured image source