As soon as I get this paper napkin out of my face, I will attempt to address a local problem. It’s not my napkin, you see; it’s got mustard on it, and I only had a glazed doughnut.

This napkin belonged to the cute little boy sitting with his parents three tables down.

As I was about to write the first sentence of this piece, a gust of wind took it from his table and smacked it into my face. This happens more often than you think. Why am I out here?

It’s my fault.

I should not be here courting these disasters. It’s all about sticking my toe into the great American hunger to be European in all things: uncomfortable shoes, clothing that doesn’t fit and dining al fresco. Wasn’t Al Fresco the guy following Michael around in the first “Godfather” movie?

Yes, I certainly understand the urge for all of you who spend the gulag months imprisoned indoors, inhaling heated air, burning hundreds of dollars in oil, to dash into the outdoors at the first break in the clouds. I’m one of you. I get it.

When summer arrives, I will often go to my deck at the break of dawn just to practice inhaling, maybe close my eyes and pretend to be “in the now,” meditating.

But I don’t eat there. I watch the birds and squirrels play, but I don’t eat. I marvel at the blue skies I thought were gray before my cataract cleansing, but I don’t eat.

I wiggle my limbs and stomp my feet to get the blood flowing. I wave at all that surrounding greenery for which I pay thousands of dollars a year just to call it my private forest. But I don’t eat there.

I remember well on those first mornings in Maine, swatting away the insects you call black flies and mosquitos the size of robins and the swarms of gnats and ants, only to knock my coffee into my shorts. Can you understand now why the cavemen and wives took their dead meat into the cave for dinner?

OK, OK. I dined outside a few times during my early years in Maine after years of Manhattan and Los Angeles, when I thought the world was made entirely of cement and glass.

This diatribe is just an opener to comment on a current event. No, not the tumult at the City Council. Something more palatable.

Today, we read of the woes of two of my adopted street friends, and probably yours — Kevin Joseph, of You Know Whose Pub; and Jennifer Bergeron, of the Itali-ah Market and Restaurant, who share a dream of taking cuisine to The Concourse in Waterville, offering pasta on the pavement and colas on the curb.

Apparently these young entrepreneurs who, like my daughters, have enjoyed aperitifs at the Café de Flore on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, sipped chianti among the thousand cats on the Spanish Steps in Rome, and who want to share such outdoor experiences with those of us who are growing old by the flowing Kennebec, but have run into resistance.

What’s the problem? Isn’t that what we want? To have our globe-traveling kids come home to roost and join with the new downtown Colby kids to shake up our bean-supper-and-lobster-roll lives? Why not?

I, for one, do not plan to dine on The Concourse; but should it come to pass, I’ll pass by one evening to watch the diners and listen to the strolling violinists. What? No strolling violinists? No Italian tenors? You promised entertainment. OK, then just for the hell of it, let’s all join in a chorus of that old favorite: “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?”

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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