Meeting My Mailman, Looking Out My Window, and Other Markers of an Early Morning in Paris
August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
It is not easy to stay indoors in Paris in August. First I have to stay in because I need to be sitting in front of my laptop, typing up my dissertation. In theory I could do this out and about in Paris, seated in a wonderful cafe or park, but I know myself and the allure of people-watching would leave my work largely un-done. Plus, now I have a second reason to stay in, which is a random and mysterious foot injury. So instead of walking miles and miles through Paris every morning and/or evening as a reward for hard work accomplished or at least contemplated, I have now been scolded to stay off my feet for a bit. Ugh. Alone with myself, my thoughts and my laptop in a small apartment. It could be worse, much worse. After all I am still in Paris. I can hear French being spoken outside my wide open windows. I can turn on the radio and listen to the news in French. And I am of course still going outside every day.
This morning I went out early to get in line at the social security office. My card, long unused while I was in the US, has lapsed. When I finished my plan was to swing quickly by the grocery store, then come back to the apartment and get to work. But it was a beautiful morning. Still cool, soft sunlight, quiet streets. Before I knew it I had walked right past the grocery store and was suddenly exploring new streets, smelling bakeries I had never walked by before and admiring shop windows and flowering window boxes. And then a wonderful thing happened! I saw my mailman on one of these new-to-me streets. After hand-delivering two packages to my apartment door over the past weeks, he recognized me! He said hello, told me apologetically that he had no mail for me today, then we smiled at each other and laughed and he wished me a good day and I felt for a moment like a real Parisian. I knew my mailman and he knew me! A tiny encounter, but it made my morning, I could not quite stop smiling. (Did I mention that my mailman is tall and strong, wears glasses and his long blond hair pulled back into a neat ponytail? I mention these details only because otherwise, very few Frenchmen fall into any category that physically or visually appeals to me, most being too small and skinny and somehow-stringy (that sounds very mean but that’s the word that comes to mind, sorry!)-for me).
Alas, now I am back at my laptop, looking out my window (pictured above), more or less ready to delve into my writing. But really I am just looking forward to my next outing, foot pain be damned!