A restaurant is quite a choice after a first date at the cinema. The reason why people decide to go to the restaurant is obviously not to sit and eat. To eat, the easiest solution would be to press a button. In every apartment of the metropolis, you will find it, with the picture of a small man, handling a tray. Click on it and voilà, magically, you’ll have your order in few minutes directly at your door. A hot voice simply asks you what you want to eat and then disappear with an orgasmic
leaving on your own, waiting for food.
In the restaurant, you won’t find anything orgasmic, but just silence. Restaurants answer to a simple need, people need to relax. Once famous for their cooks, restaurants are now known for their soundproof systems and engineering of silence. We arrived just now at the table, a white cube with burgundy edges. The chairs are embedded inside the table and the man whose feet I protect from cold pulls one out for the girl in blue standing at his side—such a gentleman. Then, silently and with some manner, he pulls the second chair out of the table.
All the furniture is made in Japan, and it doesn’t produce any sound (not noticeable by human ears, at least). As soon as they find a comfortable position, they silently smile at each other. There won’t be any awkward moments since it’s silence what they’re paying for.
On top of the smooth table surface, there are two round white and blue cardboards. Opening them, they discover the menus. They don’t have much choice, but still, a restaurant needs menus—a selection of communication possibilitiesin silence. You can choose between a pencil or a small keyboard, otherwise a bubble. It’s better to explain the menu among you that never crossed the entrance of restaurants. With a pen, you can write your own conversation on a tablet in front of you and your conversation partner can decide to read it or listen to it.
Pen is not so fashionable nowadays, though. That’s for nostalgic, the kind of people who like to listen to the music with a record player or spend a considerable amount of money for old clothes with more holes than a house in the forest. The second method, the most common, is the keyboard. Everyone at the table can interact with each other by merely pressing on the letter keys. Here, as before, it is your personal choice if you like to listen or read it. The number of people connected in a table most of the time influence the decision. Anyways people don’t speak a lot, in general. Usually, they choose a restaurant to avoid the chaos and find a quiet place where rest the mind in silence, away from advertisement and confusion.
That said, the man with a fashionable mustache and the woman in blue finally agree on the third choice, the less economical in restaurants. Also, they probably don’t know what bubble stands for. In brief, B.U.B.B.L.E. is the creator of the system everyone nowadays calls bubble. Yes, you know how proud are aristocrats of their heraldic family name, and the Baron wasn’t any different. We were at the dawn of civilization as we know it nowadays, a time in which hordes of ravenous noses occupy restaurant to eat and chat. Well, they sat having conversations with distant communities, with crowds sitting thousands of kilometers away. No one really cared about who they have in front. Actually, they didn’t even fully understand where they were seated. Then, at the end of the evening, three selfies and three pictures of the dishes on the table gave the Baron idea.
B. had then a brilliant idea. He began to register the messages people were sending with their phones, plus the small chat exchanged in the restaurants and created a new way to communicate. This new method has been chosen by the couple tonight.
Be neutral, floating
Bubble inspired the idea of a modern restaurant: a port in which small silent boats don’t have to sail but just to float. You can have conversations with distant people without beating about the bush while entertaining a little chat with the person in front. No conversation is a real communication exchange. Everyone is a neutral actor in a plot where they’re not even performing any kind of role. However, they can show what they really are without fear: audience.
They’re choosing some phrases to start a conversation, then. Which is not simple either, between million possible choices. Even to select the voice, the other will listen doesn’t seem to be simple, either. Usually, the recommendation is to choose a recognizable voice, like a famous actor voice or a T.V. presenter. Today they decide for neutral voices, almost synthesized, robotic. So the pointed- mustache- man with mustard color jacket click for first and the phrase passing rapidly through cables arrives to the woman in front of him.
how are you today?
Chosen between other options, as
such a fresh design, your dress
this place is really nice, I’ve never been here before
The blue figure smile as if that words were chosen only for her, as if that voice was real. Paraphrasing Newton, for every dumb question, there is an equal and opposite answer. In most of the cases, mediocrity follows mediocrity. Then, the conversation continues, not going up or down, but in a flat way. As if a child were pulling a marble- conversation through a table- continuum with the sole force of the air blowing from his mouth. Conversations about weather followed by taxes, then obviously souls and then abruptly entering the kingdom of personal. The child that was blowing on the marble now is strong wind, is Mistral, moving even the hairs from the face of the woman, nervously.
How did you start selling souls? What pushed you through it? Obviously your father support your decision
The question drop in the now crowded restaurant’s silence: the magic thread that links frozen emotions cut only by fastidious coughing from some elderly people. Is a bubble, an almost automatic question, apparently harmless. And yet, the left leg starts moving, anxious. No one apart from this pair of shoes could notice that her right foot was moving nervously from the very beginning. As if it was a Freud iceberg, this white cube cuts in two their smiley, relaxed heads on one side. The nervous feet and legs stay on the other. He slightly opens his arms, as a good actor should do, and sustains her firm gaze with a smile. A Monna Lisa smile, let’s say. Unintelligible, a bit dark, but comforting at the same time
Oh, obviously my father and my granpa helped me out a lot, in order to let me be what I’m now.
We can see now the same person, usually unwilling to speak outside the office time, which feels himself at ease thanks to bubble—the magic part of restaurants. Don’t judge him; it’s like asking a woodworker to cut some wood on Sunday.
But to be a dealer of souls was my biggest dream. I always wanted to be a dealer, the best
Well I think you appeared to be perfectly right. The boss cannot stop speaking about you
The leg suddenly stop trembling, giving me a chance to rest a bit. Think about that next time you move your legs nervously. Down there, there would be shoes, suffering. It’s true that we don’t have a stomach and don’t have any idea how to vomit, but we can still feel the soul-sickness. Then
I’m thrilled to hear that from you. Coming from your mouth seems a happy reality.
Really, people spend money to sit and use words written by other people. And such artificial nonsense, then! It’s something absolutely fascinating. It seems to me like robots instructed by an actress in a South American soap opera. The silence following the last sentence is the silence they’ve chosen at the beginning. Absolute silence, in which facial expressions and desires mix together, hiding the reality. The truth is, overall, the button they can press or words they can choose. All this speaking is exhausting and the restaurant is the last place to find a snack. Food makes noise. So then the hunger seems to lead them to a decision, finally, my place or your place? Your place. Better play at home the first time, think the head over blue shoes. It seems a good point, especially if then you want to do something that needs a shower.
If you landed on this page, but you don’t have any clue of what this is all about, please read what is this story about.And remember that this is a bilingual project, so you can read it in English and Italian.
This story has been published once per week from October 2018 to October 2019, with all rights reserved for the story and its translations by Flyingstories and in the person of Daniele Frau.
All the graphics are handmade and designed with different techniques by Gabriele Manca, DMQ productions, who reserves all rights.