Falling in Love Again

Falling in Love Again
It’s not unusual for people to fall in and out of love. Isn’t it wonderful when a relationship goes on forever and a couple feels the same fervor for one another the day they die as they day they met. It’s not all that usual. Wouldn’t it be nice? But falling in love with a city or a place— isn’t that something else? The other night I had an epiphany. After wondering whether or not Paris was still my true passion, I came to the realization that it is, and it’s OK to let a place (or a person) get on your nerves, and still know it’s an integral part of your heart and soul. Life doesn’t always go swimmingly wherever you happen to be. We take ourselves with us, and depending on the time and the moment, that’s not always the lightest load to lift and carry. There are the day-to-day challenges that comprise—and sometimes compromise—life. Did the check clear, much less arrive? Is the meeting you’ve been waiting to happen actually going to take place? Why is there yet another strike when I can’t get from here to there? Then there are the joys of finding yourself without Internet, and after calling the cable company numerous times (and being charged for the pleasure of doing so) being told it’s your modem and no one else’s and a technician will be available next week for an on-site visit and will repair the problem. You sit back, try not to scream and tell yourself this would never happen back home. But of course the very same thing happened when I was last in Washington, DC, and my Blackberry didn’t get a signal and I surmised we were under nuclear attack. The Internet amazingly restarted all by itself (and that includes telephones, thank you very much). When I called the cable company to cancel the technician’s visit and informed “technical support” that the entire building was sans Internet, the person on the phone didn’t even bother to respond. Oh well, big deal and (in my case) the mega-crisis was over. But being disenchanted with Paris – that’s something else. Even though the Bonjour Paris mantra is that people shouldn’t come here for the weather, this month’s heat alternating with torrential downpours can leave you feeling out of sorts. One can’t take it personally—although perhaps Sarkozy did when the skies opened on his 14 Juillet parade. Were the weather gods trying to tell the President of the République something? No one with half a heart could help but feel compassion for the soldiers who marched down the Champs-Élysées without visible grimaces. There was a business networking party on one of the boats on a quai of the Seine. I walked to it and was greeted by a sea of totally unfamiliar faces. People from all over were in attendance. Lord knows how many countries were represented. But no matter the attendees’ native language, everyone spoke French and English. People were based in Paris from anywhere from three years until forever. More than one person said they came to Paris on a year’s assignment more than 10-20-30 years later and had zero intention of ever leaving. Even though the French are supposed to be unfriendly (sic), people were delighted to meet and greet. Not one person failed to comment on the beauty of the city and we all waved to everyone on the bâteaux that floated by. I left at nearly 11 pm. Rather than heading up to the sidewalk, I walked along the quai.There were so many couples celebrating the evening. Some were nearly making love and who cared? There were a few clochards (bag people). In some situations, I would have felt threatened and walked in a more protected area. In many places, I would have jumped into a cab. Rather, I ended up taking the Métro and exited at my usual stop. Even though it was past midnight, I didn’t want the evening to end. I walked along Bv. Montparnasse and ended up at one of my favorite bars, The Rosebud. Upon walking in and sitting at the bar, Dominique shook my hand and looked at me quizzically and asked, “Irish déca”? I nodded yes. I immediately realized it had been more than six months since my last visit and my last decaf Irish coffee and I am by no means one of their only clients, but Dominique remembered. The place is packed with regulars, many of whom are from the neighborhood. It’s rare you’ll find many Americans, which doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t speak English. Upon leaving, I realized I’d come home. I’m no chicken but there aren’t many places I’d feel secure walking home alone without looking in front of me and behind me. During the seven minutes it took me to wend my way to my apartment, I saw no one after crossing Bv. Montparnasse. Those few minutes gave me the chance to realize I’d been seduced by Paris again. I will always travel and revel in it. But, I wonder whether or not I will ever leave—except feet first. How many people feel this way about where they live? Do you? © Paris New Media, LLC [email protected] If you’re coming to France (or for that matter anywhere) you can reserve your hotel here. To rent a car, Bonjour Paris recommends Auto Europe.

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