Jessica was in no mood to do anything when we were back in Paris the first day, so she opted to stay in the apartment while I went off to explore and live my best life. I think she ate a bowl of pasta in bed, so she was probably living her best life, too. I think she was still deeply crippled by blisters at this point, so I somewhat understand her desire to stay in. Still, we were in PARIS! So, I had to get out and see the city.
When I first lived in Paris a million years ago, I took the Métro everywhere and rarely walked. It was winter, after all, so I have a valid excuse, but when you zip across the city from one end to the other underground, you don’t get to appreciate the sites or develop a mental map. One day in 2009, when warm weather finally decided to show up, I went for a walk from the Bastille to the Eiffel Tower. It blew my mind. There were so many things that I had been missing out for months. I was a bit startled, so ever since, I make sure that I do my fair share of walking. (And, I’m also obsessed with my pedometer, so walking is an obsession of mine.) Today, I decided to walk all the way to the Louvre. It was a fabulous idea.
But I had an even more fabulous idea before I left the apartment. I had a couple glasses of grapefruit rosé, which is incredible. Like, reader, I cannot get over it. It tastes like alcoholic grapefruit juice, which is really one of the only things I want out of life. If we have that in America, I will be stocking up. I’m still hunting for grapefruit vodka that allegedly exists but I can find NOWHERE. There’s a grapefruit conspiracy in America, I think. Everybody thinks it’s gross and insists it can only be consumed if covered in sugar. NO THANKS. I want raw grapefruit in every form. It is, I think, my favorite food. Didn’t mean to go off on that tangent.
Totally thrilled by the rosé, I put on my boots, and hit the town. The area of Clichy-la-Garenne I am living in this month is quite nice, but if you walk five minutes in three directions it gets a bit rougher, so I haven’t been out in it much. I don’t have any particular fear of anything happening there, I just didn’t come to Paris not to be in Paris, you know? I adore Clichy with all my heart, but let’s be honest, it is not as Parisian as Paris. I’ll still, I have no doubt, buy property here some day. I hope it’s never gentrified. It’s ethnic, old-school, calm, and relaxing. Paris proper isn’t quite that way. The hipsters are everywhere now. I could not believe the Marais the other day. It was a bunch of hipster nonsense. Gentrification is a nightmare that we must fight against. It’s okay in fits and bursts, but everything eventually looks like Brooklyn. Have you seen London or LA lately? It’s all Brooklyn. Brick exposed walls, cold brew coffee, wide brimmed black hats, faded denim, indie music, and beards. ENOUGH. I proudly wear long hair and shop at the occasional thrift shop, but slap me in the face if I ever drink out of a mason jar or install a single Edison bulb as a chandelier or somehow manage to grow a mustache. So…what am I getting at…my brain is a mess today. OH! Because I was a bit disheartened about the youth culture of Paris ruining every good thing, I loved walking through Clichy and the Saint-Ouen area because it’s still REAL.
There are loads of Middle Eastern stands, shops, and restaurants, so I was loving it. I’ve felt an affinity for that part of the world since I could conceive of affinities, and I had a marvelous time listening to Arabic I could not understand and trying to figure out which shop sold the best tabbouleh. THEN, my heart stopped, in the window I saw something that I have wanted for a couple years. A little silver tea kettle.
Look, I know that might not sound so important, but I fell in love with them in Egypt when I had far too much mint tea served out of them. I thought I would never want mint tea again after that trip, but I was wrong. I craved it, and I craved it particularly from a silver tea kettle. So, I hurried into this magical Middle Eastern junk shop and grabbed the perfect little kettle. It cost four euros! Online I was finding them for nearly $30. I AM BLESSED.
On a blissful shopping high, I found a gorgeous place to sit for a rest, The Square Trinité d’Estienne d’Orves.
It was fabulously shaded with a lovely church in the foreground. I sat and read for a bit, highly happy with life. It’s the kind of contentment that is one of the major reasons that I cross the Atlantic Ocean. I can’t describe why I love Paris. I don’t know why I do. I shouldn’t, by all means; it’s a mess, it’s crowded, the life can be bodily and mentally exhausting, and yet, there are those blissful moments like in that park that can’t be explained. The only way I have ever been able to express this is by showing this wonderful short film:
Oh god, I ugly cry every time at that.
I love Paris. And that’s all there is to it. It doesn’t have to make sense.
After that blissful moment of calm, I got myself up and wandered down into town. And then I had a good wander through the Louvre where I followed people through the Egyptian galleries to listen to them and hear how wrong they were about everything.
I was living. I realize that nobody does nonsense like me, but it’s really a great joy and terror to me to hear what people think about ancient Egyptian history. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I heard about the Celts, Atlantis, and aliens. I wanted to shriek with giggles and then give lectures, but then I remembered what happened to me at LACMA, so I sulked in a corner, delivering my lecture on stone pounders and chisels in my head. It’s also fun to watch people try to read hieroglyphs. It’s not a dead language anymore, it’s perfectly legible if you study, and yet so many people are convinced that it’s pictographic and make up their own stories about the hieroglyphs. This one put me on edge, so I had to leave the Louvre because I discovered that I was feeling unwell.
I’m never sick, of course, aside from the whole Multiple Sclerosis thing, but I found myself with a soreness in my throat and a heavy heart in my chest. I knew it had happened. You see, with the medication I’m taking to control and maintain my Multiple Sclerosis from further feasting on my brain and spinal cord, the ingredients (whatever the hell they are) repress my white blood cells so they aren’t floating out and about munching on whatever nerve strikes their fancy. So, only about 1/3 of my white blood cells are actively circulating, so I’m prone to getting illnesses. And here’s the first one. I have read horror stories of people getting a cold once a month. I don’t want that to be me. And yet here we are. So, in a fit of distress, I bought an Orangina, chugged it, and walked home. I glared for a good half mile at this man who had the golden boots I want:
When I woke up, I felt just as bad as I imagined I was going to, so in a rage, I told Jessica to get dressed so that we could go out for mint tea. I was convinced that chugging hot tea in the mosque was going to help cure me. I still firmly believe that this was possible, but the events of the day did not allow my hypothesis to be tested.
You see, reader, you can’t take Jessica anywhere. Two seconds after ordering our tea, she spilled the entire glass of boiling liquid on her pants. She probably got some kind of burn. I just sighed. These things are always happening. Realizing that the day was shot since she was scalded and I was dying, I finished the tea and we took off for the pharmacy to procure throat lozenges. That wonderful product in hand, we headed back to Clichy for the day so I could relax and she could recover. It wasn’t the best day, but we were still in Paris, so it’s quite all right.