Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Like a bear in a cave, but with sun

I moved to Paris in August, four summers ago, when everything in the city was closed.


Those impressionable weeks were spent shopping at Ed* and wondering what treasures lay behind the metal gates pulled over every window. I scanned the empty sidewalks and began to worry that Paris really was, as certain friends had warned me, a dead town.

And then a few weeks later, everything changed. The shops on my street reopened revealing cheese and baguette where before there were none. Paris wasn't dead, it had simply been sleeping.

I am currently bracing myself for the city's annual coma, and knowing the drill doesn't make it any easier. My butcher called it quits on Saturday, and today my favorite market vendor said goodbye.

I find the latter departure the most difficult to accept - there's something cruel about a farm stand closing during the most plentiful season. "But what will happen to all the basil?!" I cried to my usual vegetable lady. She stared at me blankly and backed slowly away.

Having cleaned them out of fresh herbs, I am now cooking and freezing as if for a war and padding my shelves for the enforced hibernation.

My only consolation is that, like a bear, I can anticipate burning through several layers of fat during this time of nothing-to-eat. September will find me slimmer and crankier - ever nearer to my goal of integration.
--
*Ed stands for Épicerie Discount and serves as the French version of ALDI. After three misspent years I learned the correct pronunciation (euh-day), but it will always be Eddie to me.

12 comments:

amy said...

Oh dear, I've totally been pronouncing Ed wrong all this time! I am shamed.

David said...

August is the only month when I like Paris actually...

-Empty of Parisians... Sweet...
-No asshole to blow his horn in the street at dawn like his life depends on it (usually because there's delivery in the street and the guy just can't understand that the truck won't move away just because the idiot behind him is being loud)... Awesome...
-Seats in the subway... Great...

And the list could go on, but mostly: "No Parisians in town"... Priceless, really...

drbehavior said...

When someone implies that they truly like Paris better when it's emptied of its people, methinks that they've forgotten how a city is defined. The very heart and soul of a city is not it's architecture or its parks or it's transportation system, rather, a city is its people. The populist is the very life's blood of the city without which it is simply yet another collectivity of concrete devoid of music, light, and reason.

David said...

Dr. Behavior, I (somewhat) agree with you. And this is the main reason why I hate Paris: Parisians (to be fair, Parisians can be bearable... Suburban commuters, not...)

But I don't totally agree with the fact that's only the people that define a city... It's really a bunch of factors (urbanism, climate, etc, etc)...

Unluckily I hate most of them too...

Anonymous said...

it's more like "eudé" (not "eudè") actually :)

amelie said...

I love Ed! There's one right near the American University, and we find it very amusing to call it "Ed," as in "short for Edward," and even to sometimes refer to Ed as a friend.

Good luck during the Parisian hibernation... I hope it doesn't cause you too much stress.

Claire said...

"September will find me slimmer and crankier - ever nearer to my goal of integration"

Oh, so well said.

My first-ever summer in Paris: it's going to be tough!

Garrincha said...

My piece of advice to attain that objective : try to take the subway at least twice a day. It's so hot you'll sweat every little drop that you need to sweat and maybe more.

-alex, always here to help.

Misplaced said...

I've been pronouncing "Ed" as "Bill" I'm so ashamed.

French Wanderer said...

Come on, not "euh-day" but "euh-dé" ;))

Weather is awful here (West near the beach, not far from the hype "La Rochelle"), I think that Paris will not be so calm on the 15th.

Usually it's the most bleak (or calm, pick up at your choice) day of the year in Paris, but with a bad weather, that could be different

QldDeb said...

I think it sounds like a great idea, you MUST to leave the city & relax, everything's closed!

I wish we did it here! But no, we battle through in 40 degree heat with 110% humidity, rushing from airconditioned cars to airconditioned buildings.

Bring on the shut down!

Iheartfashion said...

I've been mispronouncing Ed too!