Just returned from Germany and Paris and am back at my boring job. The last time I was in Paris was in 1999 and I realized that I can’t let 14 years pass before going back. I need to go at least once a year. I don’t necessarily want to live there because I like American plumbing too much, but I could see staying there for a few months a year, renting a fourth-floor walk-up in the Sorbonne and subsisting on baguettes and absinthe. I would have to take up smoking, but that’s okay because cigarettes are much cheaper in Europe.
The last time I was in Paris, I met a man in a dark bar with a hole in the floor instead of a toilet. He may have been a waiter, but I’m not sure. I don’t speak any French. My friends made a half-hearted attempt to keep from leaving with him, but they were all hooking up too, so they didn’t care too much. Plus, we’d just spent three days in Amsterdam where some really crazy shit went down, so this barely registered on their scale of danger.
The possible waiter and I wandered the streets of the Latin Quarter for awhile before making out on a bridge at sunrise. Making out with a stranger on a bridge in Paris at sunrise is one of things in life that can’t be topped. No matter how shitty everything else gets, you’ll always have Paris. Ha ha.
Anyway, after the sunrise make-out session we ended up at a hotel with a bidet in the bathroom. I keep talking about bathrooms. I’m sure that means something profound, but I’ll be damned if I know what. This whole time, the possible waiter and I barely spoke to one another because his English was as good as my French. That’s okay. Talking wasn’t necessary.
Afterwards, I had to find my way back to my hotel. I have no idea how I did it, either, because I only had a vague idea where I was. I tried to call my friends at the hotel to tell them that I hadn’t been murdered (this was before we all had cell phones) but as I’ve already mentioned, I can’t speak French so the operator hung up on me. I couldn’t get a taxi, because I didn’t have enough money on me. (At least I assume I didn’t. It’s possible getting a taxi never occurred to me.)
Somehow I found my way back. As I crossed the bridge in front of Notre Dame I realized that this was a great way to see the city. I considered starting a business called “Walk of Shame” tours. I got back to the hotel and my friends hadn’t even realized I’d been gone for so long. All my worries that they were worried were for naught. Also, the bigger news was that one of my friends had also hooked up and this was a huge deal because she NEVER hooks up with strangers. Paris has that effect on people, I guess.
Last week’s trip was less eventful. I was with my mom and we saw all the sights and went to dinner and spent the evenings reading in our hotel room. But I am happy that my mom got to see Paris because she’d never been there before. And being there again reawakened something in me that’s been dormant for a while. I’m not just talking about a desire to have sex with French waiters in dirty hotel rooms with bidets in the bathroom – which it did – but the general desire to have dangerous adventures in foreign cities. Fourteen years is too long to wait. That’s why I am signing up for French lessons ASAP.