Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Little Cameo of Paris 1 September 2012

It was pretty early.

I like it that way.

That was why I booked the British Airlines flight from Seattle to Chicago on the American Airlines partner flight rather than the native BA flight.  That native flight gets into Paris in the late afternoon.  There are too many fun things to do from midday in Paris to make that  late arrival option attractive – at least to me.

But there is a downside to that fun early arrival time: as much as I dread the gradually grinding metabolic decline associated with the need to not go to sleep before 2100 local Paris time, I dread more the temptation of taking a little nap after arrival and the never ending dysfunction associated with taking that nap.

That temptation is associated with early arrival.  It just seems to be the right thing to do to take that nap.  It, in fact, seems to be necessary for one’s life to continue.  It is not.  The one time I succumbed to that siren call  I was screwed up for sleep the rest of my Paris residency. 

So I always get here early and I always don’t take a nap.

Not taking that nap requires a plan.  And I have such a plan.

That plan is a series of rote Paris activities that I love and that take up time.  The grinding feeling alluded to, above, is a sort of grim reaper clock that lets me know how much longer I have before I can go to bed.  Grinding though the clock and its associated activities might be, they are fun;  I always look forward to them. 

I am nothing if not frivolous.

Unfortunately for my desire to have as short a grinding clock as possible, BA went way beyond the call of on-time-schedule duty.  A 0830 arrival normally means that I can get to the apartment by noon.  Egress from the plane, passport check and customs (there really isn’t a customs check, but one never knows)  and baggage claim usually get me to the taxi stand or bus stop or RER station, depending on what form of entertainment I have chosen for getting to my place in the city, by about 1000 or so.  Once on the chosen transport method I can get to rue Guénégaud by somewhere between 1100 and noon.  If the peripherique is bouchon it will be noon.  If the peripherique is fluide it will be earlier.

I was in the apartment – new codes didn’t even cause a stutter – at 1042.  The Sony iPhone radio/charger  in the apartment said so.

So I had even more time to grind through than usual.

“No problem” I heard someone say.

So I went to Le Départ St-Michel for wine and onion soup.

Then I walked to Le Jardin de Luxembourg.

The picture opportunities in the Garden are amazing absorbers of time.

And I found many such opportunities.

And they absorbed time.

Hunger, amazingly, again interjected its acidic little voice into my conversation with Paris.

So I abandoned the image gathering opportunities for the outdoor bistro by the fountain.  Une assiette des frittes and some kind of generic red wine were just what I needed.

How boring.  But I thought it was fun.

And so it went until, after a dinner with my friends at La Citrouille, I finally went into a near death form of sleep.

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