This weekend Paris was woke up to blue sky. It was terribly cold - so cold that little hints of this light snow were left in the places that don't get any sun - but I didn't mind. After my little anxiety attack on Friday evening being able to open my curtains and left the light pour in made my brain breath a little sigh of relief.
Everything is temporary.
I spent a weekend amongst friends. Dancing Saturday night and a coffee and movie this afternoon reminded me why I want to find a job here. I love this city so much, and the network of friends I have here make every moment that much more amazing. If that means I have to take a back door to get where I need to be - so long as I get to stay here - I think that would be just fine.
On the way to my coffee date I wandered along the Canal St. Martin, Paul Simon pumped into my ears. People pushed toddlers on tiny bikes with teetering training wheels, couples strolled handed in hand, pausing to take a picture of the lone swan that bathed itself in the cool water. Tiny dogs in sweaters defied their owners desire to pause and chat with each other, seeking out a new place to pee or another bird to chase.
Occasionally the sun would slip behind a dark cloud, light shoving out from all sides desperate to break through again, and street would chill. People walked faster, burrowed down further into their scarves, walked closer together. But then the sun reappeared, allowing for a false sense of warmth, letting us each pretend that spring is just around the corner.
Tomorrow is February first. My personal countdown begins. I will begin the week with new resolve.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
This weekend Paris was woke up to blue sky. It was terribly cold - so cold that little hints of this light snow were left in the places that don't get any sun - but I didn't mind. After my little anxiety attack on Friday evening being able to open my curtains and left the light pour in made my brain breath a little sigh of relief.
Friday, January 29, 2010
I waited all week to hear back from the second internship before calling myself. I didn't want to see pushy or over eager, but I needed to know. And just as my gut had been telling me, the position had been filled by someone else.
So, I start the search again, broadening my choice of positions from just Gallery Assistant to anything the is gallery related that I could possibly do. I need to keep my options as plentiful as possible. Time is not on my side.
Briefly, today, I pondered filling out an application for a company that I used to work for in the states that has offices here - basic secretary work. One might think that sounds so promising, and I suppose it could be, but as I began to fill out the application my body revolted, I cringed and closed the tab. It is an option, yes. But I am not ready to give up on the idea that I could finally after so many years of working jobs I hate, do something I care about. I could be one of those people that is interested in their job, that doesn't mind working overtime, and is proud to say "This is what I do" when someone asks.
It's the reason I don't feel I can go home - that I don't have those same opportunities to make that happen there. And if I am going to get a crap secretarial job that I will hate, shouldn't I at least be closer to my family?
I am so anxious these days.
I am also just not ready to leave. I'm not ready for the sad send off, like we had for my good friend Justin, and like the one we had for my dear friend Amber last spring, and the ones we will have for many other of my expat friends who's contracts run out or whose homesickness gets the better of them. Thinking about leaving my Paris right now makes my heart hang so heavy I find it hiding down in the soles of my shoes. I am not ready yet. But to what lengths do I go that do not exceed reason? How can I make it happen?
I am trying to keep my energy up. I am keeping at it because it's not over yet. I am counting on my personal strength - on my incredible stubborn as a mule will power - to pull me through. I am praying that everyone's faith in my ability to do this is justified.
Despite my crestfallenness (this is a word, no?), I will start again from scratch. Because I have to. Because I can't not beat this level. I have never wanted anything so badly in all my life.
(And I promise to find the lightness again. Because aren't we all tired of the melancholy? Yes, yes we are.)
Monday, January 25, 2010
Lately there has been a lot of proverbial "pulling off of the band-aid" for me. Not that I was ever one for an easy transition, but it's true that right now my life is changing at the speed of light.
I fell down the stairs last Thursday at night club. It was one of those "a little tipsy" moments mixed with a set of stairs that was wide on the side that turned into narrow. I thought I knew what I was getting into, walking so confidently downward. And then I slipped, spilled and smashed the right side of my body into the hard concrete steps. Nothing was broken so I laughed, examined my arm and went to shake a tail feather.
But the next day it was blackened, swollen and painful - my right arm. What I thought was basically painless was lingering.
Like this I face every day of recent. Each of my decisions comes to greet me in the morning with a cold grey "Hello, what are you going to do differently next time dear?" Because it's true. If I don't oh so carefully monitor my steps the future bruised will be so much more grave. That is it. I am feeling the deep gravity of my being.
There is no news on the internships. It's only Monday, I say, and have another cigarette to combat the anxiety. Oh my God, how little I can think ahead, or else it turns into a blackened mess of nerves I can't control. It's days like this I wish I were organized, cautious and prepared. I'm doing the best I can.
Once, I watched a bruise develop before me. The microscopic points of swollen redness conjoined, merged and changed before my eyes. I sat there staring, wondering with slight disgust as the blood vessels met and burst, turning purple beneath my layer of skin. The next day it was black. Then purple again. Green, then yellow. Within a week it had disappeared, healed itself completely.
Everything is so rapid. It all changes and heals over so quickly. It's not worth worrying about when - it's inevitable. Eventually. Sooner than we think.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
This morning, as I tried to read lull myself back to sleep for a few more lazy morning hours, I stumbled on a blog I had written two years ago. I find it strange that we can so easily forget the resolutions we make to ourselves. Apparently two years ago I knew exactly what I wanted. Shortly after that I met the Frenchman, spiraled into my own depression and promptly forgot that I do in fact, know exactly what I want and how to get it.
To quote myself, "I refuse to bother with anyone who doesn't want to make the effort to show me I am the world. Someone who loves every single freckle and dark scar on my body and heart. Someone willing to take the time to get to know me and watch me sparkle and be excited to be there shining in my light. Someone who wants to shine with me."
It seems like a tall order and yet I know there is some one out there who will be that for me. And I for him.
This is why I keep journals (and this blog) sometimes it is so pleasant and surprising to look back on oneself and realize, actually? You are exactly the way you want to be.
Friday, January 22, 2010
For those of you counting out there, today was my third interview in my search for an internship. It fell directly after the opening at the gallery I interviewed with last week and between the two of them I feel like I have a real shot at a place in one these places.
While I didn't get to schmooze the socks off the owner at the opening, I had a good opportunity to chat on and off with the woman who is currently the showroom director and a couple of other people who work with the gallery and sweet baby Jesus I want to work there. Even though it's not what I had directly in mind when searching for a gallery to work in (they sell contemporary design furniture and lamps) I am so drawn to what they do. This position, as well, has the possibility to evolve into something more down the road. We all know how I feel about evolving.
The interview today was in a completely different kind of gallery than yesterday but for the most part it went well. I had semi-witty banter in French about Philadelphia and my knowledge of contemporary art and only felt lost for words once.
I'll know for sure about one or both next week. And DAMN I am excited.
So in honor of my small accomplishments thus far I stayed in Paris after the interview and had a cup of coffee at a corner cafe and marveled at the blue, blue sky. And then I went across the street to my favorite department store and bought a purse.
Now, one might argue that I should have rewarded myself after receiving a position, but I happened across a purse that was exactly like my wallet except in brown and when I asked if they had the same purse but in the color of my wallet they did AND she gave it to me at the sale price. So a little reward for my diligence can be okay right? Since it was on sale? Just nod your head "yes".
As for the other thing I was sad about yesterday, I only have one thing left to say on it. No matter how happy I am for them (and I really am!)- and even if I basically set them up - the whole things still kind of sucks a rotten egg. I love them enough, though, that I'll get over it relatively quickly.
I have plenty of other things to focus on right now anyway. For once.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
On discovering that Toad has begun dating someone new, I was a bundle of emotions. The predominant feeling is happiness - for him and for her as well - because I can't think of two people who deserve more the happiness that they could give one another. It was a match I saw a long time ago, actually, and I will be pleased to see it develop.
I wanted to hold onto that - that selfless happiness for a man I will always love no matter what. We aren't meant for each other but he is amazing and I tender and for that I will guard him close to my heart always. But I couldn't help feel sad for myself.
"It's not that you don't have the qualities of a girlfriend someone would want," said an old lover of mine recently, "It's that you come on so strong. It's almost animal, like you don't want to be caught you have so much desire."
Somewhere, at some unknown point, that is how I learned to attract men. It's a party trick, actually - fun to show people who've never seen a wild animal stalk it's prey and come home with the prized game. But it's not who I want to be.
I don't believe that people can't ever change, but I do believe in such thing as irreparable damage. How many years will it take to undo these patterns? I can change, but I don't know how.
I cried because I am sad. Not because of Toady, but because as each day passes I feel more and more alone. The only thing I can do is focus on everything else.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I've been dying to tell you all what happened this weekend with Host Mom (i.e. passive aggressive note lady) , but in the interest of job security and privacy I will simply mention that it was temporarily AWFUL and I did cry but I think it may have cleared the air for the remainder of my stay here. Which is the best I can hope for.
Instead I am focusing on what happens in less than six months which is giving me a fair amount of anxiety (Friends send more xanax!). It's not like last year where I was pondering but not doing - I am currently actively searching for a job to stay here. Unfortunately this time also coincides with a period in my life when I finally have career goals and so I'm not sure I should just stay in France for any old job. Any old job in my field maybe...? (And oh how good it feels to have a field specified.)
And so I've been going at it like it's a job in itself, wishing I had more opportunities to apply for and wondering what my plan B should look like. Should I be applying for school (possibly another good reason to stay, though it means being broke for another three years)? Or should I be broadening my scope and applying to a more general range of companies? Should I apply for school in Grenoble? Or did that already pass?
After waking up this morning to the news of Massachusetts election results, my anxiety mounts just a little further. Greedy Republicans are going to go on and destroy everything Obama has been fighting for and what does that mean for me? Currently, when I think of coming home, I think of how poor I was, how much I struggled, how I paid one hundred and fifty dollars out of pocket every month to get my anti-depressants because the jobs I had didn't offer health insurance. If I go home my job opportunities look like working as a secretary and having my soul sucked from my body as an administrative assistant. I finally know what I want. It breaks my heart (and terrifies me) to think about having to give that up right now.
But things here haven't come to desperation yet, and so I just keep trucking along. I've got this event to attend tomorrow at the gallery where I interviewed last week and I plan to put on my shine, unravel my best French and convince them that the not only need me as an intern but of what the future could hold.
All of this to distract me makes it hardly even a thing, what happened with Host Mom. I almost don't even care that I am going to have to make rabbit tomorrow before I go. Almost.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
In French when you pull an all-nighter it's called a "nuit blanche" - a white night. Sometimes it happens that the company your with is so good that none of you want to go home, but generally I think I am getting far to old for them. My body doesn't bounce back as nicely anymore and I hate wasting an entire weekend day sleeping.
Nevertheless, last night when the people I was with said "Let's go to Boris' house!" I went along, regardless of the fact that I really wasn't in the mood for a house party and I had no idea who Boris was. The Metros had already gone and for me that meant that I had to pay for a taxi or camp out until six a.m. when they opened again.
For the most part it was pleasant. I spoke ninety-five percent of the night in French (and felt quite successful about it) and before everyone was completely blasted there were even interesting conversations to be had. Eventually the pitchers of frozen margaritas emptied out and people began to lose coherence. I, proudly, had moderate fairly nicely and so by five thirty I was just tired.
I looked around the room and thought about how there wasn't anyone present I felt connected enough with to befriend. I had no desire to get emails or phone numbers or make drink plans for another night. The one really good conversation I had (about art and Vermeer) was with the only other person in the room who looked as bored of the party as I did.
I decided that I didn't want to wait another forty five minutes for the trains, for an hours ride on them, and I would go home then - something I could have easily done three hours previous and kind of wished I had. I announced I was leaving, thanked Boris for hosting us and left.
In the taxi home I stared out the window wishing I'd had a longer conversation with the guy who'd shared my love of Vermeer. He seemed like a genuinely nice person in a room full of people that were each, to some degree, putting on a show for each other. I felt bad for playing my part in that.
I didn't speak with the cab driver the whole way, except to give him directions. He didn't push me for it like some do. As we rolled onto my street, he quietly asked, "Where is your accent from?"
"It's American, actually," I replied.
At my gate he parked and turned off the ignition. Turning around to face me he told me all about how his family lived in Bangor, Maine. He had been to Boston once and liked it very much, even though it was very cold there. It snowed the whole time he was visiting. His aging face was illuminated by the streetlights as he told me he was Lebanese and though he had been in France for twenty-five years he'd like to be close to his family again.
Even though I was exhausted I listened. I told him that he would get there someday, that maybe he could drive taxis in New York City and probably make good money. He would be close to his family again.
I thanked him for the cab ride and shook his hand good day, hoping that our brief conversation had changed his night. I went inside wishing I had had a longer conversation with him. This is, apparently, a recurring theme.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The second I saw the billboard for the "de Rembrandt á Vermeer" exhibit in the Metros I vowed to go see it at least once. Vermeer, he is my favorite. I love everything about his paintings - the interesting scenes of daily life, littered with tiny details that give away hints to his studio and his personal existence painted with photo quality perfection and draped in warm God-like light. In my mind there is no painter who mastered the art of realism quite in the way he does.
Finally, this week, I decided it was time and bought my ticket online. It was cold on Thursday, but sunny for the first time since I've been home (at least that's how it seems) and so waiting in the long line with my friend didn't seem burdensome at all.
Dutifully we entered, patiently we perused the great works of the Dutch Painters of the Golden Age, anxiously I checked my peripheral at the next painting to see if it was a Vermeer. One hundred and sixty various works of art (and something like FIVE Rembrandts) later I saw it: the one and only Vermeer at the show.
Really? Just one? I was so let down. At least the Frick Museum in NYC has three. And they don't go around advertising it, either, I just happened to look at the museum's website and found out. No, the Pinacotheque de Paris so boldly states "We have Vermeer!" by draping a massive screen printed banner of their soul painting on the front of the building. It is on the cover of all the books being sold for the exhibition. This image, this one Vermeer, is put out there laying down this so terribly false idea that there will be MORE INSIDE.
But no, there's not. Thanks Pinacotheque de Paris, for the bit fat let down. I guess I will have to go to London or Amsterdam or New York to see my favorite artist of all time. I do so appreciate the tease, though. Their upcoming exhibition is Munch. I wonder if they will really have "The Scream", or if they are just using it as advertisement.
Thankfully that day I took a minute to eat a crepe in the cold sunshine, because that too was just a fake out. The forecast in Paris calls looks to be overcast and gloomy for the next ten days, at least!
Friday, January 15, 2010
On Wednesday I did, in fact, have an interview. I spent all day preparing - where "preparing" is not only equivalent to researching the gallery, it's owner and it's philosophy, but giving myself a mani/pedi. Does any one else have this kind of complex where they feel like if their toe nails are chipping they simply aren't put together? No? Hrm.
I was so nervous. As my first interview was sort of cut off at the head, this would be the real first interview with the possibility of questions like "Why are you the best person for this job?" and "What do you know about lighting and furniture design?". And I would be required to answer these questions in French. I did what any good non-fluent French speaker would do and answered the questions to the best of my ability, translated them, and then printed them out to study.
As it turns out he didn't ask me one question on my list of questions. Actually, he asked me very little about myself, mostly speaking in a sort "thinking-out-loud" kind of way about how he could use me at the gallery. All in all I felt it went pretty well, and even if he decides to go with someone who speaks better French than I, it was a good shot in par for the course.
Immediately after the interview I headed to an exhibition opening, hoping to get in some face time in the art scene and make some contacts. This is my new ambition in life, it seems. To become involved in this cultural scene so much that I cannot help but find a job as I will just be tripping over people who know and like me (and want me to work for them). I want to be a part of the network, I guess you could say.
At the moment, though, I am sort of an awkward outsider. The really good networking opportunities and great parties are invite only and so I am milking off the advertised openings on the Parisian public calendars, hoping they won't end up being a room in someone's apartment where all the people standing around smoking are the artists friends and the art is questionable at best. For Wednesday I had chosen an opening at Loft 19, the gallery of Suzanne Tarasieve. Artist of the moment: Per Bak Jensen, dutch photographer. It seemed promising.
When my friends and I arrived it was nearly empty (excepting the artist and his friends) but determined to make this a worthwhile trip, my friends egged me into a conversation with the photographer. Admittedly, I wasn't incredibly moved by the exposition. Thumbing through his portfolio books on a side table I saw many other works that impressed me more, and so naturally my question was why these photos.
Forty-five minutes later I had somehow become involved in a very interesting conversation with another young patron, acting as a translator and discussing how Mr. Jenson (who did not speak any French - the patron very little English) believed that art is really just any object that draws you with it's aura to be captured and the "work of art" is just a representation of that. It would suffice to say my brain felt enormous and my ego was pretty fat too.
What an evening of culture! How classy am I? What personal successes!
Feeling good but vowing to leave before I got drunk - and saving my friends from their ultimate boredom - we left to grab another drink at the bar we'd passed on the corner.
"Hey," Jas paused, listening. "Is that a marching band?"
As we turned the corner we were met by the sound of horns and drums, and the sight of a group of young folks perched in the window sporting silver spandex. It was, indeed, a marching band. Two, actually, dueling it out like you do on any old Wednesday.
Shaking off my cultural big head we entered the bar to the strains of Outkast's "Hey Yeah" played by a full horn section of the band who was called Texas Couscous (It turns out none of them had ever been to Texas, by the way).
And we stayed the rest of the night, because after the minimalist white space of a gallery opening there really isn't much better than a marching band competition. Particularly when the bands are so damn good looking.
Texas Couscous won - I'm not sure what, but I am fairly certain it's because they played in so much spandex.
The boys took their shirts off at the end. Half naked tuba players? So oddly erotic.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
If you believe in it, like I do, the actions in one's life are spherical. In one sense of that metaphor you have a sort of karmic idea that everything you do will - at some point - come right back around to you. In the other sense our sphere is viewed more like a wheel, a round object when forced into motion gains speed and goes in the direction in which you have pointed it.
My wheel is catching speed, like a bicycle on the gentle beginnings of a downward slope. Things I have been struggling to put into motion are finally moving. Somethings unexpectedly; all of them good.
I spent literally all day laughing about the Simon video. I was tickled to find it so well received and then surprised to find that it had spread! The story began popping up all over the country - Arkansas, San Deigo (hi Ms. Anon!), Boston, Toledo, CNN, and some random animal websites - most likely affiliate stations but nonetheless unexpected to me. I can't help but find it silly in some respect. I'm up there talking about my long lost cat like he's a person, so serious like. There is a reenactment. But I'm just rolling with it. That's what you do when someone emails you and says "People Magazine wants to tell your story, too." You just laugh hysterically, call your family to tell them and roll with it.
Trust me though, in the People interview I tried to plug my blog too. What is a little national face time without some shameless self promotion? Even if it means that I will forever be the single cat lady who's life was made complete by finding her cat ('cause, well, it kinda was. I did have dreams about it!). I'm more than willing to accept that as my angle and stay unmarried with cats forever and ever and ever.
Because why not? I still have dreams about writing that book of mine and the other things are going well too. I may (or may not!) have another interview to be turned away from this week and if my wheel keeps going in this direction at this speed I will have myself an internship before I know it. My ratio of applications to responses is good, I feel solidly about my resume and only a tad terrified about interviewing in French.
Eventually, if said wheel keeps rolling in said direction at said speed, I will have a job in France. I will be able to once again support myself, thus being able to support my mother where she needs it, thus being finally capable as an adult. A happy one.
And rest assured I will make sure Simon gets a brand new kitty castle for all the laughter and luck he's brought me. Because, really, he's the famous one here. Or maybe just my good luck charm.
Monday, January 11, 2010
After I found Simon cat I thought - how funny would this be if someone told the news about it and they wanted to do a story on us? Then I decided, well why not let it be me? And I emailed them about my little miracle. A week later they emailed and said that they did, in fact, want to do the story.
New Years Eve, my mom and I met with the photographer at my uncles house and they filmed a whole fifteen minutes of footage, including some quality moments with me, Simon and my uncles unwrapped Christmas presents.
And here it is.
Possibly the funniest thing I've ever appeared in, the interview was chock full of questions about why Simon was "so endearing to me" (which I may have answered with something about being single. Oh YES. I DID.) and a complete re-enactment of "finding Simon" which I most definitely acted up. C'mon! I was brilliant right? I figured, if I'm gonna be on the local news, I'd better do it up RIGHT.
Not to mention how adorable my little goober is, and how happy I was to tell everyone he was home. He didn't really care so much to publicize it - he was TERRIFIED of the camera!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Here I am again, not sleeping. Cat in arms, I am catching up on phone calls and emails and my long list of unread blogs. These things help me feel immediately less alone. I am connected. I am digitally and virtually touching someone else right now. It keeps me from thinking too much.
Last night I went out again. In the afternoon I had my very first interview at an art gallery which was promptly over as soon as the owner found out I wasn't a university student (thus allowing me to be paid for by the French government). As I was scooted out the door I felt remarkably cool about it. Upbeat even. But the day wore on and slowly my mood slipped. As I tripped in and out of overpriced vintage stores, burdened by my thick wool coat, I began to feel more and more empty. Groups of people walking by laughing in the cold, couples bundled up together with their hands in each others pockets - I just wanted someone to talk to. And so naturally, by the time I was meant to meet up with my friends (both in lovely couples) I was ready to tie one on.
I didn't moderate. Although I don't do resolutions one thing I've said I really want in my life is to learn how to moderate my drinking. I'm no alcoholic, but when I drink I don't know when to stop. I don't have the proper "Off" switch. It leads me to make oft times quite regrettable mistakes, breaking other vows I've made with regards to respect for myself. No, I didn't moderate. I wanted to have fun, to lose the hours, to feel less like going home to my empty apartment and more like crashing on somebodies couch. And I did. I had fun.
But this morning I felt so terribly twenty-seven. Here I was, due for a lunch date, and crusty as a rotting, abandoned, and barnacled sea vessel. I went, I had a lovely time with a good friend. He let me throw up in his toilet, supplying me with a fresh glass of water and a toothbrush immediately after. We cuddled platonically and watched movies with his cats. He took care of me.
It made me miss Toady. He was always taking care of me, and though he never really encouraged my moderation - he just wanted to see me having fun - he gave me the kind of real unconditional love no man had ever before given me. He still does. Even though he is currently up to his eyeballs in Amazonian adventures he has made time and found ways to keep in touch with me. We miss each other.
Yet we know something between us as a couple doesn't work. We tried, we tried so hard to meet in the middle but ultimately the black was too black and the white too white. Our love for each other as friends did not make us lovers.
That kiss has been on my mind. That passion that struck my eye so that I couldn't give them their moments privacy. I told my new friend J about it, admittedly very interested in what he would respond.
"I just want that, you know?" I said as he stirred a pot of home-made macaroni and cheese, me leaned against his wall watching. "I want that kind of unembarrassed passion."
"I'm just not like that, you know that," he replied quickly, almost defensively.
"I know, " I said, trying to choke back the hope I'd had in my voice, "and as your friend I respect that. I would never ask you to change that... I'm just not sure I could ever be with someone who I didn't have that with. Have you ever had that?"
"Yeah of course," he said. And I let it hang in the pause. He wasn't like that, but he had been.
"Me too. I need that."
I hadn't lied, I would never ask someone to change for me. Just like with Toady, I know it's foolish to think that maybe if you just try hard enough that thing you think you are missing will just manifest itself in the other person. Which is almost like saying maybe if you love someone enough they will want to change for you. Just writing those words is so wrong. It doesn't work like that.
But maybe love - passion - maybe it too needs moderation. Maybe, after all, it's been those moments of lightning flashing, kissing fervently at the train station, dancing naked in the rain, please don't let me ever go embraces that have left me with so many of my worst emotional hang overs. Perhaps I have grown too old for it as well, at least in such heavy doses. Perhaps my drug of choice is finally taking it's toll on me.
How do we change, though, after so long of the same patterns? How do I drink less, and how - oh god how - do I learn to love less? These things are part of who I am and somehow they are holding me back. I don't want to let them go, but rather wrangle them, harness them so that I am no longer harmed by them - by myself.
Two hours after I said I would go to sleep I am still awake, body aching and hungry. Tired and, yes, still lonely. I comfort myself with the thought that tomorrow is another day, one in which I won't be required to get out of bed before I am ready leaving far fewer hours for disappointment. I'll figure out how to be better then. I'll figure it all out in the morning. Even that needs moderation.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Two people - each one clasping the arms of the other in joy. He said something to her - maybe hello, or maybe a proposal of some sort - and then he bent his head to his her. A kiss she gladly accepted, full mouthed and fervent so that her head tilted back to receive his. Their upward faces glowed in the florescent light of the train platform. The stayed in their embrace as people rushed by trying not to look.
I turned my body to watch as the train I was on pulled away. My heart was glad for their passion.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I am laying awake at three a.m. cursing my jetlag. I tried to go back to sleep, sort of. And after two hours, a snack and one phone call to my my mom I admit my eyes are getting heavy again, finally.
I didn't try to go out tonight. As I rinsed my teacup at the end of work I watched the outdoor thermometer drop a degree to 1 Celsius. I shivered as the wind blew through the frozen bushes in the garden.
No thank you, I thought, and bundled up to make one final cross against the cold back to my apartment.
It's been like this for days. It's the kind of cold that eats through two pairs of socks and a rubber sole, creeping past my toes and up my calves. It licks at gloveless fingers and turns them a puffy, painful red. It's that kind of cold that refuses to let the snow melt, nor the sun to warm the earth, whipping at exposed pales faces and burning wincing eyes. It is the dead of winter.
As I waited for my flight in Houston I watched a report with the sound off about a teenage boy who was left out for twenty-four hours in subzero temperatures without a coat, shoes or socks. He was a handsome blonde boy, probably popular and charming. Maybe he played guitar in a band with his friends. He surely had a girlfriend. The camera panned over his sleeping, morphine filled body and down to his nubbed feet. Even beneath the bandages you could see there wasn't much left. The subtitle read "Family will find out tomorrow if boys feet will be amputated."
Watching the wind whip outside in the dark (the temperature now is minus 4 degrees Celsius) I think about that boys feet. Oh the irreverence of Nature, to think we can withstand the pains it can inflict. We have so little power over this earth. We have so little respect. The best we can do is co-exist as gracefully as possible.
Tomorrow I have to go into Paris wearing a skirt. I plan to double my tights and wear the thickest socks that will fit under my new black boots, whose soles are unforgivingly thin. I won't argue with the winter, with the powdery layers of snow still clinging to the city. I will bundle against it, defend myself, and then hurry to warm myself again as soon as I can. I'm braced, bowing to the icy snow mother.
Because, unfortunately, we cannot simply hibernate.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Very very slowly I am unpacking. That is to say, I am pulling things out of the suitcase, hanging them up (they're clean) and then laying back down to sleep some more. As it turns out I suck at being an international traveler. Jet lag has me by the proverbial nuts and I can't seem to keep my eyes open.
Of course this did not stop me from immediately leaving the warmth of my apartment to meet up friends for drinks and pick up Boo from his Aunty. There are certain things that need to be put in place before home feels as such again, and now those have been done.
I called my mom this morning just to say hello. I miss having coffee with her in the mornings, already. But as my taxi drove me and Boo through snowy Paris this morning - cab driver chatting my ear off about what I love about France - I knew I was, indeed back home.