He Sings and Dances

Living in Paris, I’ve come to appreciate its indigenous quality of life. It’s taken me five months, but when I recently returned home to San Francisco for ten days, I quickly realized that I have become quite spoiled by the Parisian lifestyle. In Paris, I enjoy daily privileges for a bargain price. I can fill myself up with warm baguette “Pas très cuites” for a euro, sit on the sidewalk sipping strong coffee with cream where, I rest assured I will not be hurried by a grumpy waiter pining over lost tips….. three hours at 3.5 euros for a café crème, is well what, a little over a euro an hour? And this includes the entertainment I get from the shows on the sidewalk, like the man in front of Bar du Marché in the 80s black leather jacket and the “Elle Model” baseball cap advertising newspapers for sale with false headlines such as “Monica Lewinsky Embarks on Mission to Africa Preaching ‘Safe Sex,’” or “George W’s Wife gives Birth to Litter of Shihtzus.” Sure, the scenery is nice….not that I’ve actually been up to the top of Nôtre- Dame or Sacré-Coeur, as my seven flights of stairs are climb enough for me, but I’m told that you’ll find “million dollar views” for a three or five euro entrance fee. No, I prefer to spend my time on foot exploring the heart of St-Germain-des- Prés or the Marais, where, near the Pompidou–or the Pipe Building, as I call it– one can buy a CD for four euros. This is my absolute favorite thing about Paris. I have literally tripled my CD collection in five months. Throughout Paris, bookshops have stands set up on their sidewalks where one can find recordings by Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Edith Piaf, collections of Cuban and Latin music, etc. There are always some less appealing choices, such as “The Greatest Hits of Marilyn Monroe,” or Marlene Dietrich. This week, I struck gold. I was wandering outside of the Pipe Building with my new friend, Jake. Freaked out by the street performer on stilts who was dressed in full pig costume, we wandered up the hill towards the futuristic café with white chairs that look like flying saucers… I’ve known Jake for about 8 weeks. We e-mail daily, but I‘ve actually only hung out with him once, as he lives in Chicago. We met at Coolin’s Irish pub in the 6th through a friend of a friend. He was working on a consulting job in Germany (he is so skilled they flew him in for a week to take a meeting) and came to Paris for the weekend. He’s 5’11”, brown hair, blue eyes. In his spare time he practices Yoga, cooks homemade spaghetti sauce and travels as a photographer to underdeveloped countries. Oh, and he sings. (crush) Our online relationship took a huge leap when last week he began IMing me. Up until then, our friendship had been based solely on written witty diatribes about our week’s work. Now, we were having virtual conversations–and I was starting to like him more. Nightly, I repeated my mantra, “I have a boyfriend, I have a boyfriend…” A cartoon-like demon occupied my left shoulder; “Marc is a metro-sexual,” the angel argued from my right, “Marc is sweet and wonderful.” Laura argued at Starbucks, “Marc is 5,500 miles away!” Four days ago, the day of our first IM session, Jake asked me what I was doing this weekend… “Having coffee with Laura (obviously),” I responded. “Could you squeeze me in? I’m coming to Paris for a visit.” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Oh, and is it okay if I stay with you?” Hahahahaha….that’s funny. I hope Marc thinks this is as funny as I do. Jake arrived Saturday morning at 10 am. I didn’t have to help him lug his Tumi hanging bag up my seven flights of stairs, as he would not be staying with me…after all I’m a lady. A lady who checked us into a hotel in the 6th for the weekend. The previous morning, in preparation for Jake’s arrival, I carried a giant three- piece accordion cushion home from my editor’s, stepping in multiple piles of dogmerde. Pushing the “futon” up my seven flights of stairs I tripped over myself repeatedly, wearing a hole through the right knee of the only pair of jeans that still fit. I arrived in my studio to a ringing phone–a hotel in the 6th inviting me to stay for two nights in order to write a review. Exhausted, I threw the futon into the closet. What was I supposed to do? The hotel called me and asked me to do a review of their property–they offered me Lauren Bacall’s suite for Pete’s sake! Besides, a two-room suite would mean two places to sleep, much safer than my one room studio with a twin bed and see-through sliding glass bathroom door. Saturday morning: 9:58 am Jake calls me as his train pulls out of the George V métro–I take one last look in the mirror, grab the two bags of trash sitting by my door, down the stairs, out the tall wood double doors and through the Saturday morning market, where the perfume of colorful bouquets meets the stench of fresh fish. I halt my speed-walking marathon across the street from the Porte Maillot, avenue de Malakoff métro exit. My plan is to cross the street just as Jake arrives at the top of the métro stairs–my speed combined with the slight breeze will thus blow my hair back in a “runway supermodel” way. I will then pause a few feet from him, remove my thick black-framed movie star sunglasses, and then smile. But only after, overwhelmed by my approaching presence, Jake drops his bags, locks his eyes with mine, and is rendered speechless by my electric personality. And I’m sure this is how our meeting would have played, had I paid attention to the traffic lights. Had the driver of the dark green mini coop with the engine that popped not stuck his head out of the window screaming profanities directed at me due to my carelessness. When Jake arrived at the top of the métro exit steps he was on the phone, and it was not my flowing blond hair blowing in the…
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