I’m lucky to live a life with few regrets. I could say I would have done a couple of things slightly (or not so slightly) differently, but then I wouldn’t be where I am now. And I think I’m the person I am supposed to be.
That being said, one day I made a hasty decision to delete my Myspace account. Who Myspaced anymore? Unfortunately I didn’t remember until after I hit the “of course I’m sure I want to do this irreversible thing” button that my first-ever blog was directly connected to my Myspace. And in those early web diaries were the musings of the seven months I spent living in Paris.
Oh BOY would I give anything to have those back. For the most part, I don’t have the greatest memory, you know, unless we’re talking about mostly useless random information or things that I shouldn’t carry with me but do. So to not have a near daily account of those adventures (good and bad) is upsetting.
Over the weekend I finished reading The Paris Wife. It’s a novel about the relationship Ernest Hemingway had with his first wife Hadley. At one point (vague spoiler) he loses everything he had written up to a certain point. Devastated, he’s given the advice to start over.
And there I was reading about Hemingway and thinking about Myspace. I lost my stories just like he did. Not only that, but one of my adventures in Paris was a walking tour wherein I saw the exterior of one of his apartments. Was it one he shared with Hadley? I can’t remember. Regardless…Hemingway, he was just like me!
So I thought it might be fun to start writing down some of the things I do remember. Plus, most of you are a new audience.
So here we go…back to the late spring of 2006.
One of my last nights in town, I decided to do a bike-and-boat touristy thing. I love the bateaux mouches in Paris. But not only had I not been on one while I was living there, I had never been on one at night.
I remember our group being me and like four airline pilots, a couple, and maybe a family with teenage kids. Let’s get serious. I remember me and the pilots.
So the first part of the tour was biking through the city, seeing all the sights. I had seen most of them before, but it was an enjoyable ride. It’s Paris. What’s not to love? We got ice cream at Bertillon just like good little tourists and then headed to the boats.
It was dusky and sunset-y and perfect. The sun fell as fast as our tour guide filled our wine glasses. Or cups as it were. And then, because a couple of the pilots and I had befriended her, she kept on pouring, as if to say, what two-drink limit? I like you guys!
Paris is called The City of Light for a reason and the viewpoint from the Seine doesn’t disappoint. In addition, the captain has his tour perfectly timed so that the moment you come under the bridge (oh the bridges! so many wonderful, beautiful bridges!) closest to the Eiffel Tower, the tower explodes in all its hourly, twinkling-lights glory.
I remember writing about this night now. Because I remember how intimate the moment felt as the sparkling tower silenced the conversation I was having with one of the pilots. We just stared in slightly-tipsy adoration of one of the most iconic structures in the world. You can’t help but be caught up in all that.
I’m pretty sure I decided it was a perfect moment to take hold of a stranger’s hand, wait for them to slowly turn away from the tower and then kiss them and/or profess love…but none of those things happened.
Knowing my luck, the pilot had probably just told me his was married or something.
So after all of this wonderfulness, when you can’t tell whether you’re drunk on the wine or the experience or a combination of the two…you have to get back on your bike and finish the tour. I was a little wobbly to say the least, but we had to play it cool because the tour guide had kinda broken the rules with the extra pours. Blame it on the cobblestone, I like to say.