Monday, August 18, 2008

This is one of my favorite items Ester has left. It’s an envelope on which she has covered all available area with writing and inside is a button, needle, and spool of thread. As will be the case I will provide the content of her notes as clearly as I can make them out.

[front of envelope]
Until last night, I did not know, that diamonds can sing: Sessel. She made me homesick for Maria Laach, wear _______, Deutschland. What a voice! What presentation! We, my friends Christe and I would visit Maria L almost every time, when I was in Jermany. Da dib les eiman Lowenlot, …

[back of envelope]
He and the other 2 tenors gave a concert in front of the Koblerer Slbob many years ago. As far as I remember, Ulla (?) and her mother in law Astersein went to that concert. Behinol the Schlob is a precious monument of Vata Rhiem and Muth Mosel Lovely. Oue of the place I visit o….

[inner flap]
I felt Jose C needed needle and thread, in case he wants to fasten his jacket button.

This is one of my favorite items because not only is it a thing but she reveals why she’s leaving that thing. Jose C needs a new button. I don’t know who Jose C is or why she might leave him a button and thread at my café but there seem to be more of a directive purpose behind this item. She also lapses into German here, which has become rare in the last year for some reason. As you’ll see in some future notes she also occasionally uses French.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paper trails

Over the last two and a half years I have been collecting items left by one of my café regulars. I had noticed that the woman left what looked to be a shopping list on the table. I retrieved it and brought it to a coworker who seemed to be on friendly terms with the woman (we will call Ester from now on). My coworker informed me that this was a common thing for Ester to do and she never asked about the items or wanted them back. They were being discarded, thrown out with the trash.

I found this to be very disconcerting and at first I didn’t know why. What should I care if an old German woman wanted to leave scraps of things behind to be thrown away? I threw them away a few times always feeling very much like that was wrong, almost disrespectful to do. I determined it was because this woman must be trying to say something. I don’t know what or to whom but this habit of hers seems to be a form of communication and it’s rude to ignore people even if they don’t make any sense.

The above is a photo of most of what I’ve gathered since I decided that I would listen to this woman, two and a half years ago. I grouped them according to the typical items she leaves. Most frequently left are thoughts and notes scratched on napkins followed by note pages with much the same content. Post cards and torn magazine or book pages are rare but not as rare as actual things. She tends to favor certain items for a while leaving several receipts from various establishments in a week. More frequent than any of these she leaves magazines laid out on the table open to pages with a sense of purpose that I have yet to discover. For a time much to the consternation of my managers she would write along the borders of magazines. Unfortunately those were all thrown away.

Over time the items have become disorganized in regard to chronology. I will try and present them close to the order I found them but some I am eager to talk about so they will be bumped up in time because I am impatient sometimes

Friday, August 1, 2008

This blog is soon to be a place where I log and comment on the notes and items left behind by a regular customer in my cafe.

These notes and items are never addressed to anyone though they often make reference to people. They are never picked up, asked about, or mentioned by the leaver. It is a wholly peculiar and unusual behavior that I have found most interesting over the years.

Should the need arise names or places may be changes to insure the anonymity of the person who leaves the notes as well as the cafe where she leaves them. Though it would be interesting to know if there are other places where she leaves things.