city of light

I am starting to tell people where I am going.

I wanted to keep it a secret, partly because I want to surprise people, and partly because I don’t want to have to listen to everyone tell me their advice. Their advice about where to go.

Oh we went there, you have to go there, you are going there, aren’t you. That little hole-in-the-wall around the corner from such and so? YES YES YES You have to go there. It is obligatory. Or even worse: The No People. Oh no, we went there, you don’t want to go there, the whole city is awful and the people are rude: it’s dirty and full of thieves there there there, you don’t want to go there at all NO!

So before I told anyone where I was going, where I hope to be going, where I plan to be going, where I will be going in eight weeks God willing and the creek don’t rise, before I told anyone I went ahead and made my plane reservations from LAX nonstop AirFrance to CDG, adjusting the dates slightly to get a better price on my slightly larger and more comfortable premium economy seat. AND THEN I went ahead and rented a tiny studio apartment for 30 days from September 30 to October 30. My credit cards are now officially groaning in agony.

Then and only then I told my mother where I am going. Somewhat to my relief, she says she approves of my choice, and applauds the fact that I already arranged everything. So give me the address and telephone number already, will you? Okay Mom, here it is.

I suspect she is relieved that I am not going to Mexico. I think she is afraid of all the drug wars and kidnappings. A good friend of the family was killed recently, just right here in Baja California. His father was one of my stepfather’s best friends. At least they did not live to see the young man be murdered and destroyed. RIP.

Brrrr. Shiver.

I just hope the plane doesn’t crash.



I cannot remember when


I cannot remember when I began to dream of going to France, or rather, specifically, going to Paris, France, but it was a long long long time ago, probably back in my childhood, even, when I was reading my first Encyclopedia, yes, at eight and nine, and reinforced later, when I learned that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and even John Adams had all had their days and nights in Paris, France, at the great turning of the worlds, when America was born from colonies into the United States, and the French helped us stand up against the British, and then, desperately, when France suffered into its own glorious, bloody, revolution, and then, oh my God, Napoleon, and then, thanks be to God, the impressionists (and their lovely daddy, Edouard Manet).

“Us” – what a slippery word that is. I was not even alive back then. I don’t even know who “we” are – except that yes I do, I was a properly educated American child, a baby boomer par excellence, I knew exactly who “we” were as I knelt down under my desk every three weeks for nuclear attack drill and kissed my ass goodbye, yes, I knew exactly who we were, except that nowadays there were no more French and British struggling against each other with Napoleonic ego power complexes, no, there was only Russia with her bomber planes and missile rockets flying over the pole to blast the bloody hell out of all us poor little rich kids who only wanted another ice cream cone before Friday, please, yes, and then… well, you get the picture.

As hell.

So it was quite a relief to learn, a few years later, that life was not about whether the Soviets would bomb the shit out of me in California, no, they would have their puppet North Vietnamese do it to me sucking up mud in Hue or Da Nang, but…

I digress, because it was a relief to learn that instead of that horror, what really mattered was this enigma, recently re-pointed out to me, again, many years later, by one of my community vloggers:

If I can learn to look at this, and think about it, instead of hiding under my school desk every time the air raid siren goes off, then…