I’m sitting in a Gloria Jeans cafe in Lviv drinking coffee and mineral water. There’s something very existential about cafe sitting. I remember as a student in college in the 70s of the last century when I spent many days reading Jean Paul Sartre imagining what it would have been like drinking coffee with him and other prominent French thinkers. Years later, when I finally got to Paris, I actually went and had a wonderful cup of coffee at the Cafe Margot where Sartre hung out.

Coffee and cafes are palaces of the imaginal—images of passersby, shoppers, merchants, students, and all that is transitional and momentary, but anchored in the depths of our dreams and reveries. Revolutions are generated by cafe talk. Lovers meet for a cup of coffee. Cafes are the cathedrals of existential cries and sighs—a place of escape and intrigue.

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