PARIS: Ciao Jessica

Today was Jessica’s last day in Paris. I don’t know if I told you recently, but I only booked a one-way ticket to Europe. I wasn’t sure what my finances would be like or what my mood would be like, but I knew that I had to go someplace new on this trip. Where exactly, I’m not yet sure (LOLz, you all know now, but this narrative is a bit delayed.), but I have ideas forming. Most of them are rotten ideas, mind you.

Since it was her last day here, we did all the best things in the city that we like so much: eating and going to Louvre and laughing at art. There’s nothing more fun than that! So, I went down to the bakery for croissants and a baguette. I then happily ate a third of the delicious baguette — I have a hard time admitting this, but it’s my new favorite baguette in the city, it’s superior to Miss Manon’s poppy seed baguettes — and two pain au chocolat. What? Don’t judge me. I walk a lot. I’m not going to get fat. I’M NOT. Well, I might, because we found this amazing butter at the grocery store the other day. It’s so salty! I love that. Tastes so good smeared on a hunk of baguette.

Once we were stuffed with baked goods, we went out to the Louvre so that we could say a proper goodbye to the McCafé, our old friend. My preference has shifted to the one off the Rue de Rivoli, though; they treat you much better. I had my café gourmand, but today for some reason they refused to give me a double espresso! What is this insanity? I want my old people back who smiled at me and gave me whatever I want.

IMG_2286“Hark! Doth I hearest some ye olde bullshit?”

Inside the Louvre, we battled the crowds and had a nice time looking at the paintings. This is Jessica’s favorite part of the museum and we spent a long time in some galleries we had never really studied before. To the great merriment of my sister, there was this a painting of a baby being eaten by a lion whilst its mother watches in terror. Here it is:

Monsiau,_Nicolas-André_-_Le_Lion_de_Florence_-_1801

Quite a good one, isn’t it? I’d hang that on my mantle. Wouldn’t that be a great conversation piece? The Louvre should offer high quality prints of their collection. Maybe they do already? I’m not entirely sure. I’d look it up but I’m a few miles in the sky right now.

IMG_2289

We decided that we may as well say goodbye to Iolanda’s too, but getting there was no simple task. For reasons that are apparent to nobody, the Métro and RER are being refurbished during the height of tourist season. That’s bad planning. I don’t know why they aren’t doing it in August when everybody flees the city for their vacations. So, getting across town was rather difficult. There were no trains in our area that were an easy distance from our destination. So we walked. And we walked. And we walked. Reader, I don’t think I’ve ever walked so much in my life. I was absolutely exhausted when we finally collapsed at our table in the restaurant.

We made bad decisions that day. We thought we should try new things. I thought a salad sounded like a good idea, so I ordered the cheese salad. What could go wrong with cheese? Clearly my brain was churning slowly that day. Jessica ordered a pasta dish that she often gets at Italian places. We expectantly waited…and then they arrived. Jessica’s pasta was just tagliatelle with bacon pieces. My salad was a horrifying melange of lettuce, tomatoes, and every kind of cheese in France. It wasn’t by any means attractive. The lettuce was covered with square pieces of pre sliced cheese. There was goat cheese. Then there was more goat cheese melted onto stale baguette. Then there were more cheeses, but I don’t know what they were. I felt a bit ill eating it all. Blissfully the provided oil and vinegar made it a bit more palatable, but I’ve really never regretted a restaurant order quite so much. Jessica was equally unimpressed. Had it been our first time there it would have been our last.

We made our way back to Clichy and took a nap. Then it was time to pack. Jessica, for some reason, has trouble with this. She just can’t do it. I think she just doesn’t put her mind to the task at hand. I’m a great packer, on the other hand. I could fit a closet into a duffel bag. I have before. Even I was impressed at my success. She brought two bags with her and I fit everything plus some china and my suit into one of them. I was very pleased.

I had some trouble getting to sleep that night. I made a really bad decision and I downloaded the Kim Kardashian game on my iPhone. It was addicting. I was such a famous celebrity and all the paparazzi wanted me and I had so many photo shoots to attend and so many meetings to preside over. The next day, though, I forced myself to delete the app. I couldn’t live my life trapped in a cartoon Kardashian world. I wouldn’t let myself.

Getting out to the airport was simple. The trains were all running quick and on time and soon we were at Charles de Gaulle waiting for Jessica to get her boarding pass. This line was not quick nor simple. It was LONG and ANNOYING. I don’t understand why people pack crates of clothing with them. It must be daunting. I only bring one bag with me when I travel and inside of it is an entire wardrobe. I could go casual. I could go to the beach. I could go to a formal restaurant. I could go to a wedding or a funeral. All with the selections in my bag. I’m not saying I’m better than anybody else…but I’m better than everybody else when it comes to packing.

And then it was time for Jessica to be off and I was all alone in Paris for the first time in five years. All of my trips here have been with somebody else since I graduated from pastry school. It was kind of nice to be in the city all alone again. It was blisteringly hot, though, and I was feeling a bit melancholy. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with myself.

Egyptian style theatre in Montmartre.

A post shared by Benjamin Phillips (@bdphillips) on

I got off the train in Montmartre and decided to have a look around. There was a movie theater called the Louxor that was built in a neo-Egyptian style. It still showed modern films and I thought about going to a movie. But, I couldn’t build up too much enthusiasm. So, I kept walking. I don’t much care for the touristy part of Montmartre with all those sex shops and crudeness. I prefer the elegant streets in the hills. I wasn’t charmed by anything at all, so I headed back to the apartment.

When I got there, my mother called to tell me that Winkler, my sister’s cat, was dying of inoperable cancer. That didn’t help my mood any. He’s a weird cat. I found him crawling out of a shed one day with both of his eyes matted together with a thick crust of crud. I spent an afternoon trying to cut it away without hurting him and I succeeded — at least I think so. One of his eyes was always a little funny after that and maybe I damaged him a bit, but I never saw his eyes before, so who can say? He kind of had a winking eye all the time, and thus the name Winkler or more commonly called Winky. I was the only one, I think, that called him his proper name: Winkler Renato Franklin Fattybottom Phillips. I was awfully distraught over his sickness and what Jessica’s reaction was sure to be.

I decided I might as well go out and walk around the islands and see if it perked me up, maybe a coffee in a café or a Kir in a café would do me good, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but walk. I walked and walked pondering a thousand things — mainly poverty. My finances were at a decidedly low point right then and I was feeling a bit miserly and downtrodden. No wonder the poor are always so unhappy. They can’t go shopping or go out to eat or go on a vacation. They just have to sit around and try to make every penny they have matter. That would be absolutely too much for me. I hope I’m never truly poor.

I remembered then that there was some street art of Conchita Wurst not too far from me, so I wasted an hour scouting it out. I started a bit of a frenzy after I snapped a picture. That happens too often.

Conchita Wurst street art on the Rue de La Lune.

A post shared by Benjamin Phillips (@bdphillips) on

The walk didn’t do my any good, but it did wear me out, so I headed home and to bed.

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