Thursday, May 04, 2006

On the verge of a nervous breakdown

Women, that is.

I've just come home from watching that classic Almodovar film at the Cinémathèque Française. All of that drama, color, and gazpacho made me realize that summer's finally here. It's suddenly turned warm in the past few days, and the effect has been paralyzing. For the first time in months you really don't need a jacket anymore, so I end up sitting for hours in the Jardin des Plantes with a book in my hand, turning the pages, pretending to read, unable to move. When I do move, it's slowly and lazily, as if I'd been drinking some of Pepa's sedative-infused tomato soup.

It was cooler this evening as I walked back from the movie - still warm enough for me to be comfortable in a t-shirt, but nowhere near as hot as it had been just a few hours before - so I felt more awake than I had all day and I moved briskly. After a week of unspeakable congestion, my allergies have finally started to calm down and I savored the air I was breathing, filled with the smell of wet sidewalks and newly-grown leaves.

I just have a few months left here, and they're going to be completely different than the ones before them. Tourists are spilling into the city and pretty soon I'm going to start working. I will no longer have the time to leisurely wander and duck into repertory cinemas in the middle of the day. Instead, I'll wade through crowds of summertime Eurorail backpackers every morning and night, the time in between spent behind a desk in an office by the Arc de Triomphe. Certainly not the worst way to take my first step into the working world, but it just won't be the same. I will lose the luxury of believing that Paris is mine and mine alone; I'll have to cede the greater part of the city to summer vacationers who won't know her like I think I do - hell, damn the torpedos and screw accusations of snobbery - like I'm sure I do.

At the same time, I am rather excited to experience a different side of Paris, even if it means regularly waking up in the early a.m. hours. I like the idea of meeting friends for a drink after work, of taking a deep breath and lazily loosening my tie as I call it a day. I'll probably never wear a tie all summer long, but that's beside the point. The point is I see a certain element of romance in everything and I'll believe it until experience tells me otherwise.

And should experience disappoint, I have another idea in the pipeline that, if feasible, will be a perfect capstone to my stereotypical year as a stereotypical American-in-Paris. On that cryptic note, I will loosen my imaginary tie and call it a day.

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