15 May, 2009

So Long, Fox C.

Little Ciara got on a bus today taking her away from me and Paris, France toward the airport and the rest of the world. Last night we stayed up late thinking of which animals best suited our friends and ourselves (for example, I'm an elk while Ciara's a koala). We did the same thing on the metro ride to Port Maillot. It's the lightest way to spend time with a friend when you don't want to think about how sad you are.

Before we fell asleep she asked me what my favorite part of outer space was. I told her it was how things can be at the same time very big and very small. I prefer a universe where things don't make sense. At her going away party on Wednesday we smiled and held hands the entire night, emptying bottle after bottle of wine, saying to each other, "I'm so happy and so sad right now!" If you have to be sad, the only way to be is smiley, I'm positive. It's the natural way of our universe. We have to contradict ourselves. We weren't happy, but sad. We were happy and sad. One breath, two things.

We stayed at Le Perle until they kicked us out and moved to Stolly's where we danced together even though no one else was. I think they were playing Bob Dylan, and I don't remember it being especially dancy. You just have to dance though when you're with people you love. There's no getting around it.

Time is incredible. These 9 months have been a dream. It seemed impossible that I could become so attached to a city in such a brief amount of time, let alone new people. Last night while walking along Rue Saint Denis with Bevan, I said to him Hemingway may have described Paris as a moveable feast, but that I see it much more as a rocket ship perpetually headed toward good.

On that note: Right now I need to go meet with Ben, drink some whiskey, and lament it all. We've got to turn this rocket back in the right direction. We have to go back.

F.C. et moi, rue Humboldt circa 2007

14 May, 2009

I Can't Believe I Forgot to Show You!

What it looked like when I invented hanging out at the beach:

The funny part is I was actually looking at something.

10 May, 2009

Always Try to Have a Good Time

On Friday morning at Gare de Lyon I boarded a train for Cote d'Azur. I love train rides, and I love the idea of train rides. I like getting somewhere without any effort. I had five hours to sit and catch up on reading and writing. Like always, my goals for the train ride were lofty. I brought a novel and three different notebooks, and I was hoping to have finished the book and outlined all kinds of brilliant new projects by the time I was back in Paris. But coming up with an idea on a train is hard. Everything's distracting. Who are these people? What was that just whizzing by? The sway and the hum. It's a spectacle! What modernity! I did, however, work on an essay about the fragility and wonder of love in our arrestingly large universe, which I hope I get to share with some of my readership very soon.

I hadn't taken more than three steps off the train before Rhiannon jump-hugged me from behind, welcoming me to Nice. I gave her some of the bonbons Gretchen and Wade had given me for the train ride, and the two of us laughed at how absurd it was to be greeting each other in the South of France. She walked me to the hostel we were staying at. Conversationally we covered a lot of ground on this trek: 1. I needed cigarettes and a sandwich. 2. Let's get an espresso. 3. Let's forget the tourist stuff and pitch camp at the beach and not move all weekend. And that's precisely what happened. I was in the water almost immediately, doing somersaults, getting salt up my nose.

That night, under Ben Sellon's recommendation, we went to a bar named "Jonathon's." Ben had warned me that the place would look closed from the outside, but to ring the doorbell and we'd be let in into a magical world. It was exactly as he described. Rhiannon and I rang, and a woman with a warm smile ushered us in to the bar, and we ordered Ricards. With our drinks we moved downstairs into an arched-white-ceiling dungeon where Joe Danger was throwing a sing-along on his acoustic guitar; everyone loved him. He played all the hits from "What a Wonderful World" to "Paint it Black." We were the only Americans in the place, and all the Frenchies were having the best time, singing, drinking, and laughing. We stayed late, and the refrain of the night was always, "How did we get here?"

We spent from noon to 18h laying out on the shore Saturday afternoon. I'm actually terrible, my body has revealed, at applying sunscreen evenly. I have the worst splotches of sunburns here-and-there all over my stomach. Half of my neck is red, and half is fine. My back, where Rhiannon helped me out, is great. But my legs are touch and go. We drank rose and ate bonbons and fruit. We smoked and listened to music. I never noticed until this weekend that a lyric in "Comfy in Nautica" is coolness is having courage. I thought I'd die. It was just the best thing to hear. I went back for another swim.

Rhiannon had to leave early this morning, leaving me a whole afternoon to myself before my train at 4:30. I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has free entrance for everyone, and had the pleasure of finally seeing in person Andy Warhol's Diamond Dust Shoes. The painting was formatted larger than I had anticipated, making the experience all the more mesmerizing. It's like a crime scene of glamour.

Tomorrow I am going to wake up and make a watercolor of two people on a tandem bicycle, and then visit the park. Being in Paris is always a dream.