Roof with a View

It all started getting good when my sore throat became a full on, sleep and other sensory deprivation bloody cold. You see, my original plan was to head to bed, recover and read a book as soon as the kids left for their grandmother’s house in Metz. So at 8pm on a Friday night, when the house finally became quiet, all I could picture myself doing was sipping on green tea and reading about the execution of Colonel Arcadio Buendìa.

It’s Sunday morning, and his execution is still suspended among those untouched pages.

At 8h15 I get a call from Eva saying she also has finished babysitting and wants to have an apéro (a classy version of pre-gaming) at her friend’s house. Which I accepted. The cold could have been suppressed with a few Halls. This is Paris, par bleu! And summer is about to end! I grabbed the only clean jacket out of my closet– which happened to be a tiny faux-fur vest I stole from my sister’s closet–and headed for the Métro.

Skip to 10h30, when we collectively decided to head to Rue Mouffetard and continue our festivities there. By the end of the night we had grown from a party of 15 to a party of 50.

Rue Mouffetard 100 years ago, yet nothing changed.

I ended up speaking a total of 7 languages that night, and by speaking I mean when someone spoke in Portuguese, I responded in Italian and ate the ending of some words here and there. Nobody seemed to mind.

Among the crowd there was this red-headed girl from Berkeley. but she made it clear to me that she was from Berkeley Berkeley, not « one of those smartasses who invade our city every end-of-August… » Berkeley. Her heavy heavy blue eyeshadow and wild curly gingerines made me want to call her Janis Joplin. Which is what I ended up doing for the rest of the evening.

Among the crowd, there were many foreigners  — especially Scandinavians–who had come to Paris just to see the U2 concert. Yet, while the Swedish tried at all costs to avoid interacting with anyone, the Norwegians were the life of the party. They say it’s because, with only 5 months of light a year, they HAVE to keep positive to survive the 7 months of complete darkness.

After an incessant argument about my vest being the traditional Norwegian clothing for fishermen who go out clubbing seals, and me trying to convince them that it was just another Made in China—and failing miserably– I called it at night. Or welcomed in the morning. Your choice.

I got home only to wake up an hour later with an immense headache and a malfunctioning respiratory system. No matter. It is sunny, it is Paris, and all museums were free all weekend long.

To my boss’ suggestion, I decided to hunt down le musée du quai Brenly, a museum dedicated to Aboriginal artifacts. There was no line except to enter the Gift Store. At the end of the visit, we stumbled upon the Mediathèque situated on the very top of the building. Virtually nobody was in there, and to enter, you had to have special permission. So we used my UC Davis student card which has no relevant information whatsoever, and I told them I was conducting research in cultural anthropology. The guy at the information desk squinted his eyes. I didn’t budge: I’ve seen enough episodes of Lie to Me to teach me how to lie properly.

After he granted us access, we scuttled to the back of the library and found the door that would give us roof access. The view was something else. I wish my computer was working so I could download the photos. It felt like we could kiss the tip of the Eiffel Tower. Looking around, feeling the warmth of the last summer sun rays, I felt jealous of the people  who lived in the apartments that surrounded us, who woke up in the morning and saw THIS view of Paris I had to sneak my way in. But we sat there, and looked at the people who were on top of the Eiffel Tower. And we waved. And they waved. Right then and there I mad a promise to myself that I would befriend one of the people who lived in one of those apartments. Either that or start a commune of Artist / Squatters and establish ourselves around that area.

~ par gitane sur 19 septembre 2010.

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