An auspicious date.
It’s election day in the United States.
It’s my mother’s 95th or 96th birthday.
I have a block against remembering whether she died in 97 or 98.
She would have liked Paris.
I always have – since I found it – either in 97 or 98.
I can never remember which.
But life goes on.
Until it doesn’t.
I got here on Sunday.
The Island, it turned out, was blocked to vehicles.
Since taxis fall into that category – vehicles - mine had to abandon me at rue de Rivoli and rue Pont Louis Philipe.
Good thing that is my 'hood, so I knew the way to the apartment.
But it was a slog of sorts; I seem to always have slogs of sorts on day one of my Paris sojourns; so it was ok; it was necessary almost; after all, the odds were really good that I was going to be able to open the door to the apartment on the first try; I have stayed there two there two other times; the first time I wrote A Curious Confluence.
As an aside, Louis Philipe had two kids who were colonels on the Union side in the American Civil War.
The troops really liked them.
I probably would have liked them.
I probably would have liked their dad.
He was the last king of France, if I’m not mistaken.
Which I may well be.
He spoke English with an American accent.
I guess that pissed off the Brits.
But that has always been pretty easy to accomplish.
For the French.
I think Louis was sort of elected, but he got to be king anyway.
That’s pretty much the type of Presidency the French now have in place.
De Gaul instituted that.
I never heard him say “l'etat c'est moi” but I bet he thought it.
De Gaul, I mean.
Sunday was about 70 degrees and sunny.
Great walking weather.
So I did about eleven.
IOS told me that.
I’ll bet Louis and his kids would have killed to have IOS.
But they’re dead.
Like my mother.
De Gaul is dead too.
But his constitutional monarchy – and elected king – endures.
I had dinner at La Citrouille.
They were hanging up Christmas lights.
Even though it was warm.
They seemed glad to see me again.
I was certainly glad to see them.
It was early even though I normally like to eat when the Parisians do, but I was ready to crash after keeping myself occupied and awake (walking eleven miles) so I wouldn’t have jet lag for the rest of the sojourn so I got there a little after six; in spite of the earliness the place got two thirds full in the hour and a half I was there.
That makes me happy.
I really like La Citrouille and wish them longevity.
And full occupancy implies longevity.
I first went there in 2007.
I can remember that.
I celebrated my 70th birthday there with my wife and my son and my daughter in law.
I think I remember that.
Today I slept until 1100.
Aubrey and Maturin and calvados will do that to one.
I went to le Marche de Maubert Mutualité and bought a Tradi, a croissant, fromage blanc and rocamadour and some clementines and had a great breakfast.
But I call that breakfast or nearly so.
And near misses are the spice of life.
I think Franklin said that.
Or maybe it was Twain or Shakespeare.
I got on the street at 1400.
That was kind of late.
But I needed some miles.
After all of that fromage blanc.
I had no idea where I was going to go.
So I did.
I went left at the apartment door and assigned auto pilot for a few minutes.
That was down the quais.
When I got to Pont du Carrousel I was drawn across the river.
To Pavillon de la Tremoillé.
The concave dish of a floor in the pavillon has been re-engineered.
It is now slightly convex.
That would have changed markedly a key occurrence in A Curious Confluence.
There would not have been that massive dish of blood.
But what the hell.
Nobody read Adrianna anyway.
The reason I crossed was because I thought it would be good to walk through Les Tuilleries.
The steps down to the fountain are blocked by another of the City’s never ending renovations, but I got down there by the pietons bypass.
And that was good.
It was good because there were a lot of arctic terns in the fountain.
I like arctic terns.
One of them might replace Jacques the mouse if I ever write another novel.
I was really glad to see that all the young women of Paris still all have the same facial façade ( a description redundant perhaps, but stylish, I think) when they walk among us.
It is a look that is a mask that has no motion, nor slippage nor perviousness.
It says “I know what you are thinking and I’m having none of it; so fuck off”.
I found joy in that lack of change on the streets here.
Young American women have a look of similar function when they walk about: “I’m not putting up with any shit from any of you asshole men, so fuck off”.
Substantially less charming.
Seven miles and no pigeon droppers.