A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
“He went to Paris lookin’ for answers
To questions that bothered him so.”
People come to Paris for all kinds of reasons. They come for the art and the history and the Mona Lisa. They come to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower and to see Napoleon’s Tomb. They come for the fashions and the food. And they come because Hemingway was here and Fitzgerald — and Woody Allen made a movie about that. Me? I’m here ‘cause I love Paris in the springtime. I’ve been here before: maybe once in a past life and several times in this one. The thing that impresses me most about Paris is I’m drinking wine on a street corner and looking at sixteen shades of springtime green. There’s an Art Deco facade across the street. Several somebodys are talking heated politics two tables down, and there’s weird 30s music coming from an open window. Right now, Paris is a great big Truffaut film with healthy bits of Dancing between the Flames 1930s thrown in. I expect Edith Piaf to show up any minute, flushed with wine and singing “Je Ne Regrette Rien.” Don’t laugh; I’ve seen her great-granddaughters do it. Paris is not exactly everything you want it to be (there are huge chunks missing) but Paris is everything you can imagine.
It doesn’t take a leap of faith to remake this town in your own image; Paris lets you do that. It has a way of shaping itself to whatever you are. All you need is a sidewalk cafe and a little time. After that, the Parisians do all the work.
For example, the waiter over there, the one bending down with the tray in his hand? You can see he’s talking to that woman. She’s not just a customer; she’s his sister. She’s married, but she’s having an affair with the waiter’s best friend, a sculptor who lives in the Marais. They’re conspiring to convince the woman’s husband that their mother is sick so she can dash off with her lover for the weekend. Unfortunately, they’re going to get caught. (See what I mean?)
Nothing is unlikely in Paris. So for the next few weeks, let’s see what’s going on in the City of Lights!