Ennui Cafe

Chicago, Illinois

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Ennui Cafe

“you enter a chamber containing a scepter, a tiara covered
with baubles, and a suit of studded leather armour.
something tells me it was left by someone
of high standing, possibly Storm.”

there is not much that can parallel the entertainment i get from eavesdropping on coffeeshop rpgs (role playing games!). i would much rather listen to a stereotypical bimonscificon dm (dungeonmaster) lay out, in a staccato pace that allows phe to construct the flimsy narrative as phe goes along, a potboiler of a fantasy scenario in a nasally, wheezy voice, whilst accepting cues and decisions on the fate of the characters from their player(s) than see some twerp (or adult) reading harry potter or see the lord of the rings films gross enough green to purchase arkansas. even if it is weak, tired, and tedious, the look of satisfaction they get from hashing through it themselves and cultivating ownership over their fantasies is fruit enough for me.

such was the discovery of this little shop in northern chicago, possibly evanston, so i thought. we had passed it an evening or two before when trying to discover ourselves a place to sup, the name of course, as they so often do, planted an associational seed in my head that crept, over the next days in the city, into desire bordering on missionary, to imbibe at the curious place. after packing all of our things for the drive back to atlanta, via dry ridge, kentucky, we headed to ennui for a morning beverage, some air to last us through the car ride, and as it happened, our only cafe experience in chicago. it was a very comfortable place, perhaps a bit spacious for my liking, broad picture windows wrapped around its corner position; it could have been a shop or showroom at some point. we drank outdoors, at a patio table, surrounded by dogs (oh! he isn’t usually like that!)(like what? a dog?), and the aforementioned gamers. not that ennui was ‘weak, tired, and tedious,’ it was quite pleasant, but it was somehow merely occurring. it was not an overly stylized place, nor was it overly bland, its presentation was stuttered out, its clientele ad hoc. like so many other shops, its name delivered a prompt on the feeling you just could not put your finger on about the place. although a worthy shop, and completely admirable and inspiring and warm, the sun that day and the empty quality of the space, all floating out the windows above the lowered seating area, just left me with a listless yet lucid attentiveness for my own feelings and desires.

but as i feel the definition of the word implies, i take ownership of my ennui. it was not one of dissatisfaction, but one of watching the world cycle past, being out of my element. the narrative of the gamers gave pause to my spaceout, in which i was able to see, against the streetscape giving way to a starbucks one block up sheridan, the satisfaction, of the independent creation that was ennui, that was the gamers’ interactive story, and in my choice to enjoy my morning there.

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Ennui Cafe

6981 N Sheridan Road
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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