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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Miss Most. Miss Least.

I'm sitting on the bare floor of our apartment in Paris. There are no chairs left. There aren't even any more boxes to fly out through the window. There's a roll of corrugated cardboard in the hallway, and cast-off bubble wrap detritus lies here and there. A vacuum cleaner is whining two rooms away. This is the end of the emptying of our Paris home.

We've had a good run. We thought we'd have two years. We've had three and a half. Though, the last six months have been a punishing limbo of commuting to London on the Eurostar every week and not knowing when the move would come. But, now, in two days, we'll be watching all our boxes and cardboard-mummified furniture walk through a door in Oxfordshire.

At dinner the other night, Flame-Haired Angel and I made two quick lists. They are a drag double act: Miss Most and Miss Least.

The 10 Things We'll Miss Most About Paris

1. The carillon of bells at Eglise St Ferdinand, around the corner from our apartment, ringing predictably and unpredictably, always to our delight, but never moreso than on summer evenings, when the sound would drift in across our balcony and through the French doors open to the breeze.

2. The sheer beauty and personal style of Parisians, and the entire culture of sensualism and seduction, which is the thread that runs through the clothes, the food, the wine, and all else that is worshipped as beautiful.

3. The intimacy and cobbles of the Marais.

4. Restaurants where, being known, we are welcomed with kisses.

5. Cheap, good Champagne.

6. Le Metro.

7. The chorus of vegetable sellers singing their wares in Marche Poncelet.

8. Having everything 300 paces from our front door.

9. The parody-reality that is French waiters.

10. And, yes, the Eiffel Tower and all the other icons appearing unexpectedly in one's peripheral vision. That just never gets old, especially when the tower sparkles like diamonds, on the hour, after dark.

The 10 Things We'll Miss Least About Paris

1. All the dog shit on the sidewalks.

2. The bureaucracy that is French banking.

3. Having fruit and veg picked for you in the shop. If it's a traditional joint, it's considered rude to select your own. You see how hard you have to work to come up with things to miss about Paris?

4. Beggars shouting "Speak English!?!?"

5. The tourist influx that annually remakes the city for four months. We don't begrudge the flood, but we won't miss it.

6. The screaming doorslammers downstairs and the hob-nailed hippos upstairs.

7. The garbage truck cacophony at 05:30 every other morning.

8. The habitrail of Charles de Gaul airport terminal 1.

9. Apartment dwelling -- even if it was in a gorgeous apartment.

10. Smoke-filled restaurants. (Although that will come to a legislated end, soon.)


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