It's fun having Chloe around. Not only is she a delightful person to be with, she's totally messing with Lucien's head. She pops up in our lives somewhere, takes pictures for fifteen minutes, then disappears again and Lucien is all "WTF?" Hilarious.
Now he's constantly on the lookout for Chloe, constantly peering around corners -- and indeed sometimes she's there, crouching down waiting for us. She runs ahead of us, crosses streets suddenly, ducks down alleys. Lucien is completely mystified and utterly enthralled by this funny woman and her strange games.
Chloe met up with us Saturday morning to photograph our weekend quest for fun. As we crossed the Pont Neuf, Alex sabotaged some of her shots by bending over and smacking his ass. (Alex hasn't been in many of the photos so far -- there's a reason why.) Thankfully, Chloe is patient. She also said she's starting to understand Lucien better now. When Al finally simmered down, we took a few serious family photos, then continued on to a metro station where she documented me nearly breaking my neck carrying a stroller down the stairs.
When she sent me one of the Pont Neuf pictures later that evening, my first thought was, "Someday this picture is going to make me cry." She totally captured a moment -- Lucien turned towards me being goofy, me telling him he's a punk who's aged me twenty years, Alex dreaming up new ways to Alex-bomb Chloe's photos, Camille calm and totally above it all as usual. When I look at this photograph, I hear us, I smell the Paris morning, I remember how still the water of the Seine was behind us, and I know it will always be one of my favorites.
The way we were (or, thankfully, at least for a little longer, the way we are)
photo by wunderkind Chloe Lodge
Anywho, our destination with Chloe on Saturday morning was the covered galleries up near les Grands Boulevards. The covered galleries are old shopping malls circa 1800ish and are tucked away in little somewhat hidden passages off the main streets. They're pretty well preserved -- you can smell the history (history smells musty) and easily envision the people who walked on the same tile floors 200 years ago. The galleries are incredible but they are also a touch creaky and creepy. I startle-jumped a few times, but that's probably because Chloe was hiding around a corner again.
We left Chloe, which left Lucien once again scratching his head, and walked home. Our path took us through the gardens of the Palais Royale. Alex vaulted some Burren columns because he's very manly and Coco secured her position as proudest and cutest walker in the place. What you can't tell from the picture is she walks like a combination of E.T. and Edward Scissorhands. Sometimes I just want to mess up her hair, give her a pair of scissors for each hand, wrap her in a blanket and stick her in a bike basket. Whoa, what I just said was actually really horrifying. Never mind.
Screw the walking. Run, Coco, run.
I wrote most of this post Sunday morning, sitting at my favorite cafe all by myself. Weekend mornings are my favorite time. I love to watch the city come alive very, very slowly, watch cafe owners drag chairs out onto terraces and wave at each other across the street, watch the men with green brooms sweep the Saturday night garbage out of the gutters.
"My" cafe is on a narrow street usually clogged with pedestrians. But early Sunday morning, there were only cafe employees setting up shop and a few middle-aged men saying bonjour to each other while out walking their wimpy little dogs. There's something not quite right about a middle-aged man walking a Yorkie, but evidently the French don't know that.
I leave you with a mental image. Virginia daughter almost ran over Gerard Depardieu with her scooter on the way to her ballet lesson last week. He lives right there in the neighborhood so they see him regularly. As she barreled towards him, he had to jump off to the side. He was wearing a seersucker suit. I think it's my most favorite mental image ever.
Smack that ass, Al, you go on with your bad self,