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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bipolar Paris, or Bad Luck?

If I was an author, looking for an allegory to show how quickly one's luck can change, I would probably start with a scene in a Parisian summer. The sun is shining, and its just a few degrees from being too hot. Our heroes are three anglophones. They find themselves in a park drinking Fanta and huge bottles of water. The park is filled with families, babies, nannies, and hookers. Our heroes are enjoying the sunshine before they break off to profit from a Happy Hour. They walk to Pigalle and find an Australian place with an expensive Happy Hour, but Happy Hour nontheless. They sip their beers and continue to sweat.

It's dinnertime and the three foreigners head across the street for some cheap crepes. Ecstatically munching away they board the metro. Three stops later, they get off, and the Auburn one reaches in her purse to check the time.

No phone. The darker blonde one calls her phone fruitlessly. Alas, she has been pickpocketed. The three put their heads together and become aware how they had made themselves targets. Line 2, crepe eating, English speaking, they didn't have a chance. The auburn haired one is upset, but the situation will be sorted out. They walk the other blonde's apartment.

"Oh shit," says the dark blonde, "it's raining."
"Oh shit," say the other two, "it's raining really hard."

The three jump under an awning and "wait it out," it doesn't stop, and finally they throw caution (and dryness) to the wind and go into the rain. They take a deep breath (it's raining hard enough that they were scared of drowning) sprint off in the direction of a Franprix. The Auburn, in her deteriorating luck, breaks the strap of her sandles, which renders them useless. She pulls them off and turns the corner full speed in direction of Franprix's impressive selection of liquor.

As she can't come inside shoeless, the other two go in, soaking, and get several "Beh oui, il pleur"s, "Ho la la," and other assinine comments about their appearance.

The three make it into an apartment and strip half naked in the hallway. Two new outfits, one new pair of shoes, and several glasses of vodka later, the two Americans of the group went off to meet with a friend. They landed at a bar in Oberkampf, an incredibly sweaty and loud bar stuffed with young gentlemen eager to cop a feel. After batting them away sometimes violently, the Auburn one turns to the other and says "Robin, would you believe me if I told you my shoe broke? At this point, the redhead lost it, and wanted to leave. To make the situation even more painful, they missed the last train and had to walk an extra ten minutes, barefoot, once again, towards the friends apartment.

They end up dancing to Lady Gaga and jumping on the three or four futons in the apartment, laughing until they drift off to sleep.

The theme would be to show how quickly things can go from happy and well, to dog soakingly wet and miserable. Paris has this magical ability to break you down, and bring you right back up again, within hours. Maybe you could say the city is not a living breathing thing, that it's the people you find yourself with, and it shouldnt matter where you are. Maybe, but you can't deny that this damn city has something about it that makes it damn hard to quit.

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