Posts Tagged ‘serendipity’

Home Again

July 29, 2018

I got back from my travels last night.

I was in motion for 24 hours.

Although what with the time change it looked like I had just traveled 11 hours.

But no.

When I got in to my studio last night the clock said it was 6 a.m. Paris time and I had been up since 5:30 a.m. the previous morning.

It was a long day.

I am very, very, very grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off, it was too hot to sleep and I kept waking up and having difficulty falling back asleep, so when I woke up at 5 a.m. I never got fully back into sleep, just lay in bed sweating lightly and wondering if I should just get up and get going.

When the light began to grow bright enough I gave up the ghost, got up and started my getting ready to leave.

I gave myself time to have a light breakfast, which thank God I did, because there was no time at the airport to get food, I was super lucky to be able to snag a bottle of water for the flight, let alone have had anytime to forage for food.

I had done most of my packing the day before, even went a bought a cheap suitcase to haul back my goodies from my trip.

Notebooks, a stuffed hippo for one of my charges, a model car for another charge, stickers and rainbow unicorn rub on tattoos and a pretty notebook for the little girl.

Other gifts for folks.

And then the things that I had gotten for myself: a purse, a market basket from Aix-en-Provence, an art book from the Zao Wou-ki show I went to at the Musee Moderne, lots of notebooks, five or six I think, magnets from the Klimt show and one from Marseilles, some notecards, three dresses (three! I was so thrilled to have found a shop, with the help of my friend, that carried my size and had lovely clothes), a sweater coat, and a blouse.

I can’t believe I found such lovely clothes, it’s very rare for me to find clothing when I have gone to Paris before.

Partially because I just didn’t know really where to look, having a friend who lives in Paris show you the spots is a huge perk.

I also got a vintage candle holder/lantern from a shop on Ile St. Louis and some prints from the Klimt show.

I couldn’t have squeezed all of that into my little carry-on.

My carry on, which as it would turn out, was not so little anyway.

It got flagged at the airport.

I was not happy.

This was the first time that it’s been flagged.

I didn’t even get it through security.

A couple of times I have had to check it at the gate but never before did I have it flagged before even going through security.

I was not happy.

I was on the same airline I took to get to France, so I knew it would fit, in fact, it had slightly fewer items in it since I had bag checked the other suitcase and figured I would fill that one heavier and keep my carry on fairly light.

But nope.

It got flagged.

Ugh.

I had already had a bit of a rough start to my Charles de Gaulle experience.

I got to the airport with plenty of time, I splurged and took a cab.

Again, thank God, if I had done the train I would have likely missed my flight considering the amount of time it took to get to the gate.

When I arrived I did a check in on a kiosk, printed off my boarding pass and got a sticker for the checked bag.

Then I stood in line with my checked bag to get it to a counter to get loaded onto the plane.

I was in line about thirty minutes.

About twenty minutes into being online a little voice in my head said, “hey, did you get your card from the kiosk?”

I couldn’t remember.

I took a deep breath, got out my wallet, opened it up and looked.

No debit card.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had left it in the machine!

I flushed very hot then almost started to cry.

I took another deep breath.

What should I do?

Odds are it’s gone.

Somebody was right behind me to use the machine.

Either they took it and went wild at the Duty Free shop.

Or maybe they turned it in to lost and found.

I started to think about how to ask the next Air France agent I saw about where the lost and found was in French.

I resolved to stay in line and check my bag and then go look.

It was a long ten minutes.

I got my bag on the belt and dashed back to the machine.

Of course.

The card was gone.

I looked around, there was a desk next to the kiosk, but nothing on it.

I turned to go back to the line that had to Air France agents working it.

I should mention that there were three different areas to queue up to, each area having two agents, then agents roaming between and agents at the desk.

I don’t know how I decided to ask the woman I asked, but I made a snap decision and walked towards her.

I approached and asked if I could speak English with her, I really wasn’t sure I could get across in French what had happened, although I had been practicing it for the last ten minutes.

She said of course.

I told her what I did, I pointed to the machine, I was about to ask if there was a lost and found and she said, “you’re Carmen?”

I nodded, yes, yes, yes, as she pulled my debit card out of the front breast pocket of her jacket.

I nearly wept for joy and thanked her profusely.

What are the odds that the person I asked would have my card in her pocket?

I don’t know, but it felt like winning the lottery.

I was so happy about it that when I was told my carry on would cost me 80 Euro to process I didn’t give a fuck.

Who cares?

I had found my card.

And though the whole process set me back over an hour and a half of going to and fro, it was all worth while.

I made my plane with minutes to spare, enough to be able to dash to the nearest counter and buy a bottle of water and then get myself settled in for a very long flight.

There were a few other adventures.

Like the plane having to sit on the tamarack for another hour because a person had to be de-planed, which led to me literally sprinting through the Atlanta airport to make my connecting flight, but I did then too.

So even though it was a long trip getting back.

Get back I did.

And I am very grateful to be home, unpacked, all my laundry washed and put away and almost ready to get back to my regular routine.

Almost.

I have one more delicious day off.

Ah.

Summer vacation.

You did me good.

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Ta Douleur

August 6, 2016

Wake up – I’ve just decided
Let me replace you
I will take away your pain
Softly; no noise at all
Like rain wakes you up
I will take away your pain
Take away your pain
I will take away your pain
She is struggling and fighting
But don’t bother escaping
I will block the elevator
I will take away your pain
Sabotage the switch
I will take away your pain
But who is this hanger-on
Thunderstorm before the summer
Dirty little brat sister
I will take her everything
Her darts and her whistle
I will spank her little ass
I will take away your pain
Remove her from the playground
I will take away your pain.
But who is this little heiress
Who bathes and hides herself
In the warm water of your loins?
I will deprive her of dessert
Make her eat dirt
of those who aren’t hungry anymore
I will take away your pain
from those who don’t have any more
I will take away your pain
Tell me what science will do
when we have this bridge between our bellies?
If you are hurt where you are scared
You’re not hurt there I think
What does this bitch want?
Cake and eating it too?
Whether you live or whether you die?
She must crave happiness
or a new pair of shoes
She must collapse under the flowers
Change the colours
I will take away your pain
I will take away your pain
Tell me what science will do
when we have this bridge between our bellies?
If you are hurt where you are scared
You’re not hurt there ooh I sing
Okay get up
Lève toi c’est décidé
Laisse-moi te remplacer
Je vais prendre ta douleur
Doucement sans faire de bruit
Comme on réveille la pluie
Je vais prendre ta douleur
Elle lutte elle se débat
Mais ne résistera pas
Je vais bloquer l’ascenseur
Saboter l’interrupteur
Mais c’est qui cette incrustée
Cet orage avant l’été
Sale chipie de petite sœur?
Je vais tout lui confisquer
Ses fléchettes et son sifflet
Je vais lui donner la fessée
La virer de la récrée
Mais c’est qui cette héritière
Qui se baigne qui se terre
Dans l’eau tiède de tes reins?
Je vais la priver de dessert
Lui faire mordre la poussière
De tous ceux qui n’ont plus rien
De tous ceux qui n’ont plus faim
Dites moi que fout la science
A quand ce pont entre nos panses?
Si tu as mal là où t’as peur….
My new favorite song.
Oh my gosh.
So good.
My dear Parisian friend made me a playlist on Spotify.
I have been listening to it pretty nonstop.
The above is one of my favorite songs on the the playlist.
Ta Doleur.
By Camille.
I immediately put the album Le Fil on my favorites.
I love finding new music and new French music?
So lovely.
Then.
I am at work and I am listening to music blasting quite loud and it comes on the sound system.
Except.
It’s not Camille.
It’s Mike Doughty.
Holy shit.
I had no idea that he had done a cover of the song and he did it in French on his album The Flip is Another Honey.
I don’t think he actually speaks French, I could be wrong, I would guess that he’s doing it phonetically.  However, it was nice to hear coming out from the speakers in the kitchen while I was cooking up a storm for my absent family.
I got it all done too.
And was able to get out a little early, get some personal shit taken care of and even meet a friend for tea.
While we were sitting there catching up I had a deja vu to the first time we had sat at that same cafe, other table, in the front, one night after doing the deal and had coffees and talked and I think it was a sort of let’s investigate whether or not we want to date.
We did off and on.
The best I can say is that I had a friend/lover/friend.
I was moving to Paris and it was fun to share some of that juju with him.
He sent me a few mixed cds to me in Paris.
They came at the worst possible time, I was so homesick that week I had burst into tears in my French class over a “futbol” exercise.
Football.
Thanksgiving.
And I’m in Paris where there is not Thanksgiving and they just go about their days ambivalent to your football, it’s soccer anyhow, you heathen.
I didn’t watch football when I was in the states, it was just something that said Thanksgiving to me, family, playing eucher at the table after dinner was done and the girls, my aunts, and me and maybe one other cousin, were washing dishes in the kitchen.
I hadn’t even been to a family Thanksgiving in years, five, six, seven, more, maybe a decade since the last time I had been to a Thanksgiving meal at my grandparents, but there I was losing it in Paris in my French class in a border line neighborhood at the end of the line 7 Metro train.
It was rainy.
The rain fell in heavy splatters against the windows.
The room was overheated.
The French, mostly bad, except for the teacher.
And me, I was the best speaker in class.
Not because I am the best French speaker, oh no, it was more like I had taken a class below my skill set because I am stupid on computers and when I took the skills test on the school’s system I fucked up, so I was assigned a beginning class.
Which was actually really helpful, it was a great way for me to refresh my French.
The teacher was going to move me into a different slot after she heard me speak, but I told her I was just fine and I was.
It was fine.
Until it wasn’t.
The rain.
The homesick.
The culture shock that I didn’t realize I was going through, but was absolutely going through, was taking a toll on me.
The paltry Thanksgiving dinner that I could barely eat anything from at the English speaking pub a friend worked at, the cold Metro ride home, the rain, the rain, the rain.
An instant message from my friend/lover/friend.
Did you get my package?
I hadn’t.
And then.
I knew where it was.
I had known, you know, sometimes you just know, and it was like a homing device.
I ran back out into the rain, crossed the courtyard, and there, I found it.
Henry Miller Tropic of Cancer.
50 Euro note.
Two mixed cds.
One which was “Something To Write To.”
The other “Something to Dance To.”
He knew me well.
I burst into tears listening.
He knew me.
But not well enough.
And.
That is another story.
We’re both fans of Mike Doughty and there was a song on the “Something To Write To” mix from the album “Yes and Also Yes.”
I immediately downloaded that album.
It became my Paris soundtrack.
I don’t know why, it just did.
And there is this curious serendipity as I talked to my now strictly friend/friend, as we’ll be going with mutual friends and his girlfriend to see Doughty play and I think of my French friend from Paris and it’s odd, or God, or both.
And there is just this deep beauty in it.
The song, when it came on, the cover by Doughty, made my arms break out in goose bumps.
I don’t have to find meaning.
There is just sometimes magic in the world and when I open my heart to it.
It burns.
Rare.
Pure.
Bright.
Smitten to my core.
With.
Love.
Yes.
Love.
And more than a little forgiveness.
But most.
Simple.
And.
Most.
Just.
Love.

New York Dreaming

September 7, 2014

My friend is passed out in a food coma in his boxers on the queen size bed in the Air BnB he’s staying at in Brooklyn.

I am super tempted to take photos of him.

SUPER.

But after the amaze balls meal we just had this evening at Peter Luger’s and the fact that he footed the bill and the taxi ride back to the pad, well, it inclines me to be gentle with him.

Besides I love him to bits.

And today would not have been the day it was without his company and guidance.

I did not have to negotiate the subway system.

He did it for me.

I did not have to figure out what to do or where to go.

He knew what I wanted to see and do and we did it.

He asked me before I got here what I wanted to eat.

Steak.

And he made reservations at Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn three and a half weeks ago.

We still had the latest reservation one could have at the restaurant–10:45p.m.–but we got in.

He took me to a place I hadn’t thought to go and was thrilled beyond measure that we went.

Tavern on the Green.

I mean, it really was a dream of a day.

One in which I started out “late” from having needed to catch up on sleep missed from the previous days early up and at ’em after a long travel in from San Francisco.

I slept in until almost 10:30 a.m.

Late for me any way you slice it.

Late for me now, but I cannot go quite to sleep, I had more than one latte at Tavern on the Green, and I am wide awake.

Plus, my body is busy digesting all the tasty that was had at the steak house–iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese (the real stuff) and heirloom tomatoes, thick cut bacon, a half a medium rare lamb chop, a half of a rare porterhouse, a bottle of bubbly water–I am going to be digesting for the next week, I think.

But that’s ok.

The month of eating meat like it’s going out of style (three weeks Burning Man followed by this weekend in New York) and I will be going back to my simpler ways.

No.

I am not a vegetarian.

Although I have played on one tv.

I am just a simpler eater.

I like my food simple and clean and though it was not “dirty” to say the least, it was just a lot more full of meat than I normally eat.

But I am on vacation.

A short, sweet, quick bite of the apple, and then back out.

In fact.

I fly out in less than 8 hours.

My flight leaves JFK at 8:10 a.m.

Current time?

1:38 a.m.

Current location?

Somewhere in Brooklyn, just off the J line at Myrtle and Broadway.

I figure I am going to have to get up in oh, about three hours, get dressed, pack my bag and split for the subway, giving myself about an hour commute time to the airport, maybe an hour and a half (although I don’t think the trains will be busy, I just don’t know how often they are going to be running at 5 a.m.) and then the mandatory hour or so to make sure I check into my flight and go through security.

It’s almost late enough that I don’t want to go to bed, that I could just stay up and watch my friend sleep and listen to the occasional honk of the horn going by, or the whirl of the fan in the window.

It’s warm and sultry and it’s been humid.

Man, oh man, you should see my hair.

I have a lot of it.

It’s curly.

And it’s humid.

It’s like getting twice the hair in one shot.

It was pretty hot today, 91 degrees, but the humidity was so high that it felt like 100 degrees.

I got rained on a little bit, not too bad, just enough to have to dash underneath an awning after a late brunch at Ichabod’s down off of Irving and 3rd Ave.

I don’t know exactly how to explain all that happened today.

It wasn’t much.

But it was all a dream.

It was the fantasy made so real that I teared up a few times, wanted to pinch myself, and thought over and over and over, how is it that I am here?

How did this happen?

And I can trace the arc of it and still be amazed to be this woman, walking around Chelsea and the West Village, drinking an iced cold pressed coffee, dancing about the High Line Park, taking photographs of the skyline, and wearing a hat I bought on a corner from a street vendor who I bargained down to $20.

I felt like I was in a movie.

I laughed like I was in my own life and fulfilled and myself and I cried a little too, with joy, with gratitude to be walking with an old friend through a street fair on 3rd Avenue, eating watermelon out of a plastic cup and joshing with each other about going to that one place, on 19th and Dolores so many years ago, nine, now.

I got to be the woman sitting with an old lover at Tavern on the Green, eating olives with my fingers and watching the French couple at the bar holding hands underneath the ledge while Frank Sinatra crooned  a little song about New York over the speakers.

I watched the horses trot past pulling carriages and tourists and my heart-felt full and when my friend said, “you picked the right hat,” I knew he was right.

He picked it, by the way.

When the subway connections all fell like dominoes and we dashed up and down the stairs and made three transfers to get dropped off two blocks away from the steak house, walking in right at 10:45p.m. when the lighting flashed and the thunder boomed, and the skies opened up again, deluging the streets of Brooklyn with a wash of water from heaven, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And the dream.

Well.

It’s done.

It was a good dream.

And it was a lovely movie that I got to star in today.

Now.

Onto other dreams and other goals.

Now to settle my restless heart for a moment, catch a three-hour nap, and off to the airport.

I have places to go.

And planes to catch.

But New York.

I won’t forget you soon.

Though I may not dream of you again.

I am so grateful I got to live through this.

Like a bright stack of gold foil wrapped chocolates on Christmas morning.

You were sweet.


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