Steak frites, feminism, and coffee — Letter no. 2

Tonight on my way home, a man in a red jacket ran by me holding two small-size boxes of pizza. Maybe he was trying to make sure they didn't get too cold on the way back from Domino's? In any case, he's probably finished his dinner by now, as I just finished mine with my housemates. I toasted the sourdough I made this morning and scrambled eggs with salt and pepper, while Sam baked a coconut cream pie. Elena toasted the fries and made a sandwich with her leftover steak frites from our dinner at Le Diplomate last night.

Le Diplomate is the loveliest restaurant I've ever been to. The doors are bulky and wooden, the windows inlaid with stained glass. And the interior—the crown molding, wooden panels, cafe chairs, the white cotton napkins with red stripes—felt like a movie set in France. I had ravioli for the the first time in a long time, stuffed with ricotta, and we shared the palet chocolat cafe for dessert. We watched How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days when we got home. I was struck by the portrayal of feminism as (1) vegan, tattooed, and pierced, (2) prone to yelling, or (3) so focused on a career that you've forgotten to care about your employees beyond their products. Alternative, angry, and lacking compassion. I remember watching the movie in the Belk lounge with my freshman hall, and I noticed none of these things. Either I or the public perception have changed even in four years. Likely both.

Speaking of college, I spilled coffee on my carpet the other day, and the smell took me right back to my sister's Ruffin dorm room from sophomore and junior years. She and her rooommate Maggie brewed coffee all day and night, and they only ever used incandescent lights and covered their walls in old movie posters and Mipso graphic designs. I would visit, sleep on their couch, and pretend to be a Carolina student, thermos in hand on the way to Davis. (The library). In the words of a new favorite writer of mine Joan Didion, "Smells, of course, are notorious memory stimuli." I'm hoping I remember this place, or at least this night, by the smell of sourdough, toasted coconut, and Le Diplomate pomme frites.