This is Oscar Wilde's tomb, covered in heavily lipsticked smoochesWe saw the greatest hits, of course, including Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein, and Edith Piaf, and enjoyed the relative peace and quiet of the sun-dappled cemetery punctuated periodically by shrieks from our child. We explained to him it was a place of quiet and respect for dead people but that only piqued his interest; from then on he pointed at each and every tomb we passed and said loudly, "He died and he died and he died and he died..." He also stopped next to tourists once in awhile to explain helpfully, "That's a dead guy."
...and this is Oscar's neighbor. Not famous, but someone didn't want him to feel left out so gave him a smooch, too. Thoughtful.
Thanks to Rick Steves, our cheeky tour guide in book form, I now know Gertrude Stein's last words and they made me grin. When asked on her deathbed, "What's the answer?" Gertie replied, "What's the question?"
The cemetery made Alex thoughtful and he rambled on and on with some nonsensical simile about how holding onto Lucien is like holding onto sand -- if you squeeze too hard and mix him with water he becomes mud. You must therefore hold onto him without closing your hand. Brief pause here while everyone digests that little nugget. I've been with Al forever but I swear I still don't understand half of what that guy says. Judging from his laughter after he was done ruminating, I don't think he understands most of what he says, either.
We don't know who this guy is, but we likey that he wanted "Finally Alone" on the top of his tomb.
We spent Sunday with one of Al's American co-workers and her family at the coolest place in Paris if you like your kids happy and entertained -- the Jardin d'Acclimation. It's an amusement park on the edge of the city and we dug it in every way, from the nauseatingly cool rides and wading pool to the petting zoo and choo-choo. Lucien rode his first roller coaster, and then promptly his second, for the kid remains without fear and forever in search of thrills and reasons to yell.
But on the way there, walking to the metro stop on that beautiful blue-skied morning, it became obvious the drivers in Paris are messing with Al's brain. Enjoying the security of the "green man" at a busy intersection, we started to cross the street. As soon as we started across, "green man" turned red and Al, in a somewhat delirious state, started hollering at me and dragging me by the arm, under the impression, apparently, that bloodthirsty driving Parisians were revving their engines, aching for a chance to mow over a pregnant lady.
I hollered back at him to calm down, calm down; we would survive the treacherous street crossing if we just kept our wits about us. Once we reached the other side without a scratch, Alex seemed embarrassed, but thought a minute and offered, "At least I reached out to drag you with me instead of taking off alone, yelling, 'Save yourself, honey!'" True enough. I would be looking at Al pretty squarely right now if he had left me alone, running off screaming and waving his arms like a madman, to fend for myself on the cobblestone street in my wedge sandals.
I had the strangest appointment with my OB Friday, which is saying a lot because they're all kind of strange. I was early so I stood outside the building for a bit, enjoying the sunshine and a moment of non-movement. Suddenly a man came up to me speaking gibberishly fast French -- something about how his wife was inside giving birth, his car was parked illegally, he was Jewish, it was the Sabbath, and he needed my help to get into the building which made no sense at all as the doors were standing wide open next to our conversation.
In response, I stood there silently and gawked at him in utter confusion.
He then gestured madly towards the car parked halfway on the sidewalk in front of us and then gestured even more madly towards, I think, God, and ran his fingers periodically through his hair -- the part that wasn't covered with a yarmulke. I considered for a second asking him what the proper thing to do with leftover yarmulkes at a wedding is, but quickly decided maybe it wasn't the right time.
He then disappeared inside the building on the heels of another gentleman ("I can go in with him," is what he cryptically told me) but reappeared moments later and without a word took off running full speed down the middle of the busy street like a dog chasing a UPS truck. As I watched him incredulously, I couldn't help but think maybe I hadn't been very helpful to that nice young man. And that perhaps he wasn't quite ready for fatherhood.
I climbed the stairs to my appointment. I'll take the stairs every time at the clinic, even the day I walk in suffering the full throes of labor, as the elevators are claustrophobic hellish little mirrored coffins. A bunch of people always try to shove in at once, too. The max capacity is three peeps but I've been in there with five and barely made it to the ninth floor with my sanity, muttering, "Oh my God oh my God oh my God" the whole way.
When I exited the stairwell, I was all alone, a loud alarm was sounding, and the lights were flickering on and off. So what's a pregnant woman to do who's just climbed nine flights of stairs and walked into a situation worthy of piercing sirens? Exactly -- I sat down and opened a magazine.
I wasn't there too long before my doctor ran past me and through the stairwell doors. He doubled back, poked his head through the doors and told me he was going to be a bit late as he had to check in with a patient below. When I asked him what the piercing sound was, he answered, "It's an alarm, Madame," and disappeared down the stairs.
Eventually the alarm simmered down and the doctor reappeared. Once inside his office, doin' the ole striptease (I've found my groove and am quite good now but he doesn't seem to notice, or at least hasn't commented on, my improvement in technique) I asked him the normal polite questions -- how things were going, etc. etc. He responded, eyes closed and rubbing his brow, "It's a hard, hard life. Hard, hard, hard...."
Normally this reaction would alarm me in a doctor but I have become accustomed to the sometimes overt drama of the Frenchman and know that, for him, this was akin to saying, "Oh, you know, same ole same ole." I will become worried the day he bounces into the room and claims everything is hunky dory. That will mean the man is losin' it.
OH, and does anyone know what the hell these are? This was an ad in my doctor's office. They appear to be seashells you put on your boobies but I'll be damned if I understand why.
I'm sad you died, Jim Morrison, because you were super hot. Mister Mojo Rising, indeed.
This is the end, mon chou,