Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Ennui Cafe is Closed

It was a lovely evening and I was out for a stroll. On the Internet. I forget what I was originally looking for but as often happens something caught my eye. I took a turn down a back alley, which led to a marketplace. And that is when I discovered The Ennui Café is closed.

Screen capture from yelp.com June 11, 2012
Imagine my surprise! Well, I wasn’t really that surprised. In fact, the more I thought of it, the less I even cared. I had never been to this café and yet here it was, no more.



I’ve been experiencing it lately. In larger and larger doses. It’s been gradually moving in over the past six months or so. On the surface it’s easy to explain. It’s been just over two years since Amy died. Year 1 was about standing back up and dusting myself off. Year 2 was about recreating our nest including a non-trivial home remodeling project, having Lori move in, and (re) kick-starting family counseling. And now here we are in Year 3, which is about, well, about just living. Or maybe something else. Who knows.

And I’m 45. Widowed or not, I’m due for my mid-life crises. But I have no interest. Plus an affair or a convertible just seems like too much effort or expense. Besides its just too cliché.

My shrink says I’m holding in my anger.  Well, she doesn’t exactly say that, but leads me to it. Or at least doesn’t stop me when I suggest it. Regardless, the past several weeks, at least, we seem to come back to some discussion of emotional flatness and a deep, buried rage. My acupuncturist agrees, of sorts. Apparently I have an abundance of yin. Or my yin is over-compensating. Yin is cold and damp. Yang is hot and dry. Anger, and with it passion and enthusiasm, are yang-ish. Perhaps to protect myself I have developed an excess yin to keep cool and protect myself (and others?) from whatever hot yang stuff, like anger and rage, lurks.  But with the anger and rage, enthusiasm and passion are doused. Suppressed emotions or over-active yin, I just can't get too excited about it.

The Chinese developed this understanding over many, many years. The French did us the favor of simplifying our understanding of this common malady with a single, perfect word: ennui.

I really like the word. Ennui. I like the way it sounds. An-we. I like saying it with a slightly nasally, snobby, French accent: Ahn-wee. And I love the fact that it was the French that created the word. Who else? And I especially love that The Ennui Café is closed. But of course it is!

Screen capture from Dictionary.com June 11, 2012
And so from that marketplace on the Internet with its closed Ennui Café, I sighed, turned back and wandered a bit more until I stumbled across this wonderful advertisement è

What ever concerns lingered from The Ennui Café’s closure disappeared. There are, it turns out, plenty of Ennuis and at Great Prices too!

Of course! American capitalism will solve the existential problem of the The Ennui Café's closure. We'll just buy more!



  1. This is quite possibly my favorite blog post anytime, anywhere.

  2. I agree it's a great post. And yet, it doesn't move me. It's all so meaningless. I just feel... um... what's the word?

    1. Hi Dave T,
      I was going to reply but just can't seem to muster the enthusiasm. But thanks anyway!

  3. somewhere between don't care and can't feel
    there is comfort in this soft numbness
    it's safe
    and kinda floaty
    not good nor bad

    i can breathe
    not too deeply
    but without fear or dread
    in my swathe

    remind me not to stay too long