Parisian Wanderings

It goes without saying that Paris is unique.  Yes, it’s beautiful, and special, and oh so French, but so are lots of other places.  Paris is different because of its melancholy nature.  The gray skies and stone buildings combine with the people- sullen looking men and women who have mastered the look of perpetual annoyance, both seemingly either appearing to be going to or coming from having sex- make for a culture that is hard to penetrate.  The city is almost always portrayed by these characteristics.  It can all be a bit overwhelming to those unfamiliar with the Parisian way of looking at things.  It can leave you with a loneliness, a melancholy feeling that makes you reevaluate yourself and the world you know.

The thing about Paris, though, and the French, is that you have to look beyond the facades of the people and the places.  The city is really nothing more than facades. When you do, you’ll find a warmth and a beauty that you had missed previously.   It’s the little things that, when you know what your are looking for, you’ll find charming.  I was riding on a subway  last week, from one side of the city to the other, coming back from Pere Lachaise Cemetary, when I had a strange encounter.  I was sitting on the train ignoring the gypsy playing the accordion, working the car for tips, when the woman sitting across from me opened a pre-packaged cup of applesauce, and with a plastic spoon began devouring it readily.  She wasn’t just eating it, (which would be odd for the metro – any metro, anywhere) she was making love to it.  She sucked the spoon, licked the edge of the cup, and slid her sticky fingers across her lips.  I watched all of this stone faced, just as another woman who stood in the aisle did.  As the fruit fornication came to its inevitable empty cupped conclusion, the standing woman and I made eye contact, I quickly nodded my head toward the applesauce vixon, and then raised my eyebrows, feigning shock.  The standing woman and I had connected and we both burst out laughing.  Again, it’s the little things that, when you see them in Paris, in its streets, its people, in its subways, that show you the beauty.

Of course the beauty, once seen, can’t be forgotten.  It sits with you, churning away inside of you, and strangely it takes you back to that melancholy place at which you first began.  That’s when IT sneaks up you.  You find yourself living in that moment, for the first time.  You see the beauty of the world, in those around you, and especially in yourself.  I think I met myself for the first time when I was in Paris.  It was scary, unknown and familiar, all at once.

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Categories: Europe, My View of Things, Stories, Thoughts

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