Paris: Short-ish Stories: Part 5
Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
50Trip End Dec 21, 2013
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We went to the final night of the Montmartre Wine festival on Saturday, (10-13-12), to see the fireworks. We arrived about an hour before they were scheduled to start, but even then there were thousands of people sitting on the massive stairs leading up to the basilica ready to celebrate the end of the grape, (for the wine), harvest. There were even more people lining the avenues and moving in and out of the white venture's tents trying every kind of wine and cheese on the planet.
Our group of a dozen or so found a good spot on the stair and waited. When the fireworks started, the whole of the basilica and the crowd lit up. This is mostly because the fireworks were set off right in front of the crowd, so it seemed like the fire was falling right on us; for some it was. There was triumphant music and an announcer who went along with each round of colors in the sky. There was some talk about the cuisine tradition of the festival, and then the music would swell and the world seemed to light up. There was a lot of Oooh-ing and Ahhh-ing coming from our bundled group. I'm pretty sure I was crying because it was that awesome.
After the show, we all headed back toward the metro. We had a few new faces in the group, friends visiting for the weekend and whatnot. Melanie's friend, Ian from QU, was visiting from his study abroad semester in London. Alec had brought his friend, Alex...i'm not really sure where they know each other from, (the casino probably). Isabelle had run into a guy she had met the night before at a bar, and he joined us because he had not been able to find his own friends. He was a college student, too, and he and I started talking on our descent from the basilica. His name was Coraday, (written phonetically). He was from Georgia and was there studying at the university in nearby Versailles. Lucky bastard got to see the Palace and the gardens everyday. In our ten minute conversation, we talked about where we were from, (when I told him i was from Amity, Connecticut he thought i meant AmityVille from 'AmityVille Horror'), how we were liking studying abroad in France, loving the gardens of Versailles, made some racist jokes be both thought hilarious, (how difficult black people names are for white people to remember), and even Doctor Who. Some of my favorite things. I felt more understood and connected to someone in those ten minutes talking to him then I had at any point in the trip. I didn't have to struggle to come up with something to talk about, or feign interest to be polite. He didn't seem to have to either. When our group stopped to figure out where we were going, there ended up being two different groups: one was heading to a couple bars or something, the other, the one i happened to be standing with, was heading to dinner. Isabelle, whom Coraday had come with, was in the group going to the bars, so he felt an obligation go with her. It was very polite of him, and I would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed, but immediately after we said goodbye, i realized my mistake. He kept looking back at me as his group walked away for their evening. It was one of those moments you have in life where the choice you make matters. It's not like "what cereal should i eat for breakfast?" This one effected who would be in your life, and who would not. I could have went with him and Isabelle and whoever else was in the group going to the bars, or even gotten his number or Facebook name so we could communicate again, (he could have done that, too). I don't know, if we had met each other earlier in the evening, if we would have been more confident about staying together, but it didn't matter because we hadn't met earlier. We met when we did, we said what we said, and we chose not to go with the other's group. He had used my phone earlier to try to call his friends, so later I tried that number to get in touch with them, but that didn't really work. I thought about him for a while, thinking I saw him whenever i saw a black guy on the street or in the metro, but upon second looks i never actually did. I wish i could, but I don't know that I would even recognize him after all this time.
I am really disappointed that it rains so much here. I thought that only London had this crappy weather. I carry an umbrella everyday; on every excursion the sky is gray and the lighting is strange because of the clouds so that i can never get the lighting quite right in my pictures. Also, I'm always wet: my shoes, my pants, my coat. I hope the weather gets better soon; i would like a nice day so i can get good pictures from the top of the Eiffel tower.
Watching people on the subway is like a never ending variety show. Naturally, there are always the homeless people, (the same old woman sitting outside Serves Lecourbe station begging for money, whom, today, i saw smoking. Yeah, that makes me want to give you money), the scattered amount of really well and fashionably dressed people, those kids you know are in college because they dress like hipsters, (huge, ugly sweaters. Although, somehow they are still dressed better than any American college student), older business men in suites, musicians, paranoid and lost tourists constantly checking their maps. And then there are the oddities. Today, for example, I saw a middle-aged woman carrying a bouquet of pool noodles, (or as the Brits call them, "floaties"). The subway is great fun for my imagination. I pick someone out who i find interesting, (or a really good looking guy), and i try to figure out their story: why are they on the subway and not a taxi? where are they going? who are they in this city? do they even live here? Sometimes i create scenarios in my head about how we would interact if we knew each other, if we were on our way somewhere together, where would we go?