Like the other day, I was nursing an expensive thimble of wine in a
cafe on the Rue de Something, near the Avenue des Whatevers, and to my
immediate left sat a Frenchman in a pose so relaxed he might have been
modeling for Toulouse-Lautrec. He was doing nothing, and doing it with
panache. Between two fingers dangled a cigarette that remained lit even
though he never did anything so animated as puff. It was hard to tell
if he was truly drinking his glass of red wine; the level went down so
slowly it may have been merely evaporating.
Joel Achenbach at the Washington Post writes a beautiful piece on the lost art of doing nothing. People watching is something we have lost in the ravages of our busy lives eager to make the most of every minute. If a cafe has wifi, we must have our laptops with us, right? We simply cannot sit back and relaxing enjoying our daily dose of caffeine and in the words of Longfellow – we have no time to stand and stare.