He’s sitting in a coffee shop in the Mile End area of Montreal. It’s the kind of place where the coffee is absurdly overpriced and where so-called hipsters assemble to profess their alternative lifestyle. He wonders what’s so alternative about them when everywhere he looks he sees similarities: beanies that don’t cover the whole head, thrift-shop scavenged oversized clothes, sarcasm as a mode-of-being. Aren’t they just a different kind of mainstream? Maybe hipster would be more accurate of a word if most shared the experience of a hip replacement.
He can’t hide his uncanny feeling around them. How can he trust the screams for revolution out of the mouths of bourgeoisie children whose most profound experience of distress is choosing a place to drink a coffee and talk about how important Simone de Beauvoir or Michel Foucault are. And still, he’s sitting in this coffee shop worrying that they are not so far from him as imagined.
The bowl of coffee is empty and the residues have formed paths on the side as if they are showing different lines of flight that come together in this place. In front of him is Kathleen Stewart’s book ‘Ordinary Affects’. The whitish cover collides with the run down brownish table. Is he reading it or is it there as part of a self-presentation to portray a belonging to the educated class?
It’s tiring living this life, often caught in ‘stereotypes so strong they thicken the air like stench’ (Stewart 2007: 13). He tries to keep his mind at place but repeatedly slips away to recite random poems in his head pretending he was an accomplished lyricist. His ‘attention is distracted, pulled away from itself. But the constant pulling also makes it wakeful, “at attention.” Confused but attuned’ (ibid.: 10).
Distracted is a good way to typecast him. Imagining so many things he could do only to fall back behind his laptop looking at the screen flashing images that fulfill the short term hedonistic urge for pleasure. This post was supposed to be a vignette of a scene experienced in Sarajevo but for now that has not solidified. That doesn’t mean we won’t get there.