Le 26 décembre
I slept and I slept and I slept, not even curious to check the time, how decadent am I! I rise to smoky skies and a misty rain. The aluminum roofs cry sweetly like an old nickel. Oh, Paris, from my sixth floor window, I breathe in your slow temperance, your low hum. I drink a coffee that I prepared from a pot of boiling water, heated on one of the two burners that sit atop a tiny fridge. In North America, we would call this a « bar fridge. » Here in Paris, it is simply a fridge. I smoke a cigarette as I prepare my lunch of boiled broccoli with Knorr moulinée de légumes verts on the other burner, with the other pot. I have everything I need, I feel so light and happy.
I look down from my perfect, simple throne. Paris, how I admire your wide, wide streets allowing only a single lane for traffic each direction. Even these are near empty. It is almost noon but the city coos calm and chill. It is twelve degrees. Beside each lane there is a second lane reserved just for parking. These are full. People are sleeping or walking or riding a bicycle, they are doing anything but driving cars. I smile. I extol the Parisian city planners. Beside each lane of parking is an open space where two more lanes of traffic could be, would be, if this were North America, where today there is the chaos of Boxing Day, I laugh! This space if reserved for the markets, and I see that, while I slept, the awnings have been set up, I am excited.
Last night there was a party next door, they woke me with their laughing and music and camaraderie. Not only did the noise and the waking not bother me, it made me smile. I was happy for their happiness. Merry Christmas. I can hear them perfectly, the walls are paper thin. They won’t hear a thing from me but my incessant nose-blowing. This cold is proving incredibly loyal!
Beside the wide open market spaces, there is finally the sidewalk, where I need to be soon. I have forgotten shampoo. I study the Monoprix from my window, is it open? If not, I have my toque. Oh, Paris, my darling, what will we get up today, hmm?
The Monoprix is open. I bought organic almond milk, organic soy milk, coffee, organic whole wheat pasta, organic vegetarian pasta sauce, organic whole grain biscuits and granola bars for my breakfasts. M—– should be happy to have such a good influence over me. I am. And a bottle of wine with a bicycle on it.
I am so happy that I have been remembering to “vouvoyer” everyone. I am seated at “L’imprévu” on Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle, quite beside my old stomping grounds, I know this area very well. I rode here on Vélibre after some souvenir shopping for my students near Place Vendome. I hope they will like and use these gifts. They are only expecting keychains, I am sure. But I got some of those, too.
I haven’t advertised on Facebook that I am here, in Paris. Normally I would, excited to share my joy with my friends and family at home, eager to be greeted by my friends here, to be invited out here, and there. I will, perhaps, eventually. Right now I am happy to wander alone. And to sleep in. And to simply do whatever, to do nothing much, walk around, ride around.
It is half five and the sun is setting quickly. The sky is grey but with a billowy blanket of purply-pink sky just above angular rooftops topped decoratively with thin, cylindrical tubes, pipes, the perfectly quashed upside down cigarettes of the gods. My stomach is as empty as the wine glass in front of me. Plus I promised the SDF I would return with some change. And I am cold. Time to go.
It is seven in the evening. I have just enjoyed la salade océane at Sarah Bernhardt, in the fourth. With a glass of Saint-Amour, and then another. This is what I love to do, meander around, following my feet, eating here, drinking there, wherever that may be, smiling at everyone, talking with strangers. Wherever I end up, I always stay much longer than everyone else.
J—– is asking where I am, am I here? I am here. We try to make a plan, perhaps to meet where C——— works. But not tonight. I think I’m drunk.
Every time I come home to my rented flat, and tonight makes only the fourth, it gets bigger and bigger. At first it felt so foreign, so small, now it feels as though it’s mine, and plenty big. And this is with her (the owner) not making effective use of the space. What I could do here! I could easily be happy in just this much space. In fact, I am envious. My apartment at home is thirty-nine meters squared. This place is thirteen meters squared. It has everything! At home, I have too much, way too much. While everyone else around me searches for more, bigger, better, I crave to shed, to have less, to be lighter. And though I have far been the oddball in this regard among my peers, M—– is so many steps ahead of me, though for him it is effortless, organic. I gain so much from everything he is. I wonder what I can offer of sustenance in return? Something, I pray. And since I don’t believe in praying, what I mean to say is I will just be myself and love him freely. There is nothing else one should do.