Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gloom, Interrupted

I was so satisfied with my book and my copious amounts of coffee. So much so that I took time out to write about my day. Yadda yadda yadda. So after going back to my book and coffee, I hardly noticed that my living room had started to become brighter.

"No!" I thought. "The new bulbs!"

I had just had the super-expensive light bulbs in my living room replaced. The first round was on the rental agency, being that everything was supposed to be in working order when I moved in. But as soon as I noticed the room getting intensely brighter, I was gripped with the fear that my brand-new halogens were already burning out, and that I'd be out 20€ a pop in new bulbs.

Then I realized the lights are fine. It was... THE SUN!

Not only was the sky lighting up, but it was a beautiful, vibrant blue. Warm rays of sunshine came in through the windows. To me, this screamed "Walk!" So I scrambled to put on my shoes and a hoodie. As I was lacing up, I could hear doors slamming and the stampede-like rumble of feet running down the wooden stairwell of my apartment building. Apparently, everyone had the same idea. One bit of sunshine, and it was a mass exodus out on to the street.

It was like one of those scenes out of a melodramatic sci-fi movie. The drab people, living their drab existence, are liberated from the evil overlord and his evil weather machine. Cast off into a pit of fire by the triumphant hero, his weather machine is shut down, the clouds part, and people walk outside, holding small childern and staring in awe, at that thing called "the sun" that they hadn't seen since childhood... or ever.

There are those caught unaware. Those who refuse to believe something good when it's happening to them. Still walking in their overcoats and mufflers, cursing the cold, not realizing that the rays of light are real, and life-affirmingly beneficial. In fact, it's uniquely Parisian (ok, maybe Soviet, as well) to be in denial of these things. You can just read on these scarf-wrapped faces, the wrinkles of their scowls saying, "Yeah. You keep wearing that hoodie. You'll be sorry when the gloom comes back. You'll freeze to death." There's a pessimism and resignation when it comes to the weather here.

But today, in my day of bucking Paris-ness, I wasn't buying it. I was in my San Francisco uniform (hoodie, jeans, sneakers, sunglasses) and eating up this 180 in the weather for all it was worth.

I explored some streets in my neighborhood I hadn't checked out yet. Scoped out what stores and bakeries and bars might be on them. I made random circles around various blocks. I made my way toward the crowds of the Place Bastille and enjoyed the wide-open vista of the sky. I made my way back home, unconcerned with the slowpokes on the narrow footpaths, or the morons still walking with their umbrellas open, or -- anything, really.

I came home, once again recharged, all upbeat on Paris and everything it has to offer.

Then it started to rain again.

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