Saturday, July 10, 2010
It's been a rather depressing week. We still haven't found a permanent place to live (according to the NYT, there's a housing shortage here; I'd read just the opposite in the French press not too long ago), and we spent approximately 10 hours over two hot, frustrating days attempting to get our visa/carte de sejour malarkey sorted out at the prefecture de police in the 14th, enduring streams of vomit deposited at our feet courtesy of a little girl who drank too much milk for breakfast (I can't blame her; I'd have barfed too), and having "adults" ruthelessly cut in line ahead of us after we'd waited hours and hours, only to discover that we were in the wrong place altogether. Nothing--as I'd conveniently forgotten in the last five years that I haven't lived here--comes easy in France. Everything is a bureaucratic climb of the Mt. Everest variety. I've wanted to give up scads of times, but we're hanging in there.
The good news this week is that A. I finally got Velib to work (thanks to Sacha--my teenage Franco-American step-nephew-in-law, or some such approximation), who called Velib on our behalf, and discovered that it might just be a matter of wiping the puce on our carte bleu really clean before swiping it through the kiosk), so now we two are completely mobile. It feels great to be on bikes a deux again! Good news B: I got a job! It's a part-time gig, but it's something. Yes: I am, perhaps, Paris' newest professional dog walker. Thanks, Phil, for giving me the job! (My first client is a springer spaniel-type dog named Junior, whose dad lives in a fancy building on Avenue Montaigne, right there next to Chanel, Hermes, and Versace.) Maybe this job is a sign that yes, I really am supposed to be here. Or not. I'm still mulling that one over.
When I'm feeling totally bummed out like I've been for the past 10 days or so, I look around this good-looking, historically rich and interesting city and tell myself that it's not so bad, even if we are living out of suitcases in a place without WiFi. I could be feeling depressed in, say, Lodi or Auburn. Now that's a depressing thought. One of the little things that keeps spirits afloat (besides the daily doses of baguette in the tradition graine style) is the French tendency toward erecting signs and placards for anything and everything. Some of these signs make no sense, like the one below from yesterday's trip to the Parc de la Villette that seems to be saying "no flowers, please." (The one above seems to suggest that holding your child's hand is a criminal activity.) Though I understood perfectly the sign I randomly glanced up to when stopped at a light on the rue de Rivoli today, which announced that "Leo Tolstoy lived here in 1857." Now I'm thinking about Anna Karenina and getting all depressed again. Time for a new topic. Ideas welcomed!