I explained the reasoning behind my term of unendearment not only because I think it’s important to explain why I’m not crazy about Angers, but also to give you the context necessary to understand the surprise I stumbled upon yesterday evening.

En route to a dinner party, I wandered through the public garden and came across a scene that baffled me. A guy had set up his drums in the gazebo, and was playing what I can only describe as très avant garde. Around him had gathered a small crowd of —dare I say it? can it really be?—French hipsters.

This scene could exist in Minneapolis.

Now, say what you will about hipsters, but I find them to be an indicator species, roughly correlated with the number of interesting & creative people a city has to offer. (I suppose it’s a parabolic function, increasing to a vertex, after which the hipsters are probably too rich to be interesting. For evidence, see Hollywood and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.)

Note the fixed-gear bicycle on the ground. It's only the second time I've seen one in France. (The first was, not surprisingly, in Paris.)

For that reason, I titled the drum solo “Bittersweet Mystery.” These are the sort of people I would have wanted to be friends with all along. Where were they hiding? Why did they wait to come out until I’m about to leave?


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