Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An ode to Paris in the summertime

Paris wakes up with the first signs of the warmth of summer.

It trudges lethargically later on, in August, when everyone but the tourists clears out, but for those first few warm days, which usually rear their heads in June, though sometimes as early as May, everyone looks at the city as though they had never seen it before. New summer dresses are still crisp and sandals have not yet rubbed feet into a blistered mess. Toenails are newly french manicured or painted red. Blindingly white winter skin begins to turn brown again, or in some cases, pink. Shoulders are bare, camisoles are the only way to go; indeed, there is no other way to beat the heat.

My insomnia has stuck. We both toss and turn in the crisp white sheets, the fan blowing warm air on us as we attempt to sleep. All the windows in the apartment stretched wide wide open, with the light from the moon and the street lamps pouring in, as though we were sleeping outdoors. We may as well be, not that it helps, not that it provides any relief from the heat. Usually I will just get up, go for a walk, attempt to write but the words just don't come. And neither does sleep.

My blogger's block has stuck too. Looking around it seems many other bloggers feel the same. But that's ok, because this is no time to be holed up indoors on the laptop. People have poured back into the streets and sidewalk cafes, taking advantage of the lateness of dusk, shunning sleep. Enjoying summer in the city. We are joining in.

A Friday evening in the cool dampness of the medieval cellar of a bar in the Latin Quarter to hear a friend of a friend's group play sultry music from all over the Spanish-speaking world: Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina. The friend of the friend is a German girl who sings in Spanish, studied music in London, and now lives in France. If that's not Paris cosmopolitan for you then I don't know what is.

A Saturday night at a party at the home of a certain Parisienne bloggeuse, although leaving into the warm humid midnight before the real debauchery with egg tossing and dressing up as royalty began. Whose tart mojitos helped me to sleep soundly that night, the only time this week.

A Sunday, early evening, after the heat of the blistering afternoon sun has mercifully let up, lying in the soft cool grass in the park nearby, his head on my lap, sharing a can of Coke, listening to some long-haired youths playing guitar nearby, simply staring up at the blue sky, until dusk began to fall. Then slowly heading home, pouring ice cold rosé into wine glasses, slicing ripe red tomatoes and plucking pungent dark green basil leaves for a meal inspired by the season, with blushing apricots for dessert.

The city gets under my skin when it is like this, and all I can do is just go with it…


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