I missed this pointless Hemingway diversion yesterday.
I travelled to Europe with my sister Laura a few weeks after I graduated college. I wouldn’t have gone but for her: She wanted to travel but our parents wouldn’t let her go alone, so she talked/bullied me into it. It was a great trip, but she and I fought a lot of the time, about everything. When to eat, where to eat, what to eat, where to stay, whether to go to a museum or sit in a cafe, what city to visit next, and on and on.
In Paris, I remember looking through the guidebook to find a cafe that Hemingway had frequented and insisting that we visit it. Laura dropped me there and went off to visit a museum or something, some activity I wasn’t interested in, with the plan we’d meet up later. The cafe was too touristy and nasty, but I sat there and tried to feel some sort of communion with Hemingway and Paris. I may have pretended to myself that I did feel it.
Recently, Laura told me that if we were to take the same trip again, it would be different. She now loves cafes and sitting for hours to take in the scene. And if we were to take another trip, I would skip the guidebook and rely on her sense of good places to hang out, which she has honed through years of foreign travel. But I’d still like to go back to that cafe, if I could find it again, and try to discover with my current mind what I thought I was doing there then.