Thursday, 4 October 2012

Squaring the Circle

I don't normally get scared in taxis, but when the driver goes so fast over bumps you nearly choke on your own spit, and then drives up on the pavement shouting COUILLON at the person who had stopped in front of us, well, I may have got slightly anxious. 

Anyway.  I don't have a lot to say at the moment.  On a paint chart life would be a sort of indeterminate porridge colour.  I'm working on being a nicer shade.  I'm working on being who I can be, and not this bloody reject.  But it's not very interesting work and the hours are shit.  Let me tell you instead about Flagey.

It's not often I do the frite thing, but with an hour to spare I went down the best fritkot in town (allegedly) and shouted my order like a local.  With a cornet of chips and a cold Fanta, I straddled one of the long benches that surround Place Flagey.  On the surface, it's just like they had a lot of spare paving stones and went a bit mad.  But this grey place is truly the local heart.  Watching one courageous child running in and out of the fountains coming from blow-holes in the paving; youths playing some sort of football; people crossing the square rapidly, aiming at buses; the Flagey centre rearing like an ocean liner over CafĂ© Belga, I remembered it was nearly a year ago that I was first there, and it seemed improbable that this was now home.

On a speculative weekend jaunt to look at flats, I had wandered downhill into Flagey having no idea about it but getting the sense it was somewhere.  Now, sitting there greasy with beef fat, I realised that the trajectory of each bus and tram in view was known to me.  I've had three dates in the immediate area.  I use all the supermarkets.  However, the market still remains a bit of a mystery.  It appears each morning and evaporates in the afternoon, the only sign of it being stacked barriers. 

Aside from IKEA, and football, it occurred to me what a unifying experience the fritkot was.  Nobody is too grand for a frite.  Nobody looks great eating them and yet there we sit, grazing blithely from paper cones.  I am part of Flagey, and Ixelles, and Brussels, because I am here, doing unobtrusively what other people do, and living the slightly fritey life. 

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