“…The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
…Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then — then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!”
-Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
This iconic opening scene is a gorgeous example of a flâneur in action. Here, the quiet early morning city streets become Audrey Hepburn’s refuge. She is walking her own path, lingering in front of Tiffany’s shiny shop windows at a time when the majority of city-dwellers are still at home asleep. She slows down, she admires, she finds peace in “the quietness and proud look” of an early New York morning. She uses her environment creatively for transformation and healing, claiming a peaceful moment of observation to turn her “mean reds” around.
There is a wistfulness in this scene – the music, the way she carries herself, and just the feeling. This wistfulness is just as important to the flâneur’s path as the euphoria, joy, and wonder that can also color city wanderings. What’s beautiful here is that walking and lingering wistfully (and therefore, authentically) ultimately brings her to a place where she is able to creatively transcend her “mean reds” and find peace.
Maybe, as she continues wandering as a flâneur, she will one day realize that the elusive “real-life place” that makes her feel like Tiffany’s is actually anywhere where she is present with an open heart, ready to see the quietness and beauty that she seeks…