The Street Below: Time Is Fleeting

The days slip by really fast now, one after the other.

It is just before midnight.  Self twitched open the living room curtains to take a look at what was happening on the street below.  The movement caught the attention of a man in the apartment almost directly opposite.  He’d been leaning over his balcony, gazing moodily at the street and smoking a cigarette.  He was still in office clothes.  When self moved the curtains, he looked up right away.  Self hid.

Today, while self was watering the geraniums on the balcony, she decided to snap pictures of people walking past.  So here’s what she was able to capture with her camera:

After dinner, self decided to do a little exploring.  She climbed the steep stairs that led to Sacre Couer.  Halfway up, she was already panting.  She stopped and pretended it was because she wanted to take a picture.

The cathedral sort of rears up, like the prow of a mighty ship.  The ground in front of it was absolutely clotted with tourists.

Then, she walked down again, and followed twisting streets that led to little squares, each with its own little café.  On a street named Dancourt, she stopped at a small restaurant that seemed to have mostly French customers.  She ordered tiramisu and a cappucino.  The tiramisu was so excellent, she ordered another one to take home.  And now that, too, is gone.

*     *     *     *     *

Self constantly shifts and re-arranges her bookmarks.  The list never stays the same from month to month.  She added a new one just today:  “Critic After Dark”

*     *     *     *     *

She truly has missed California.  Her last European residency (before Hawthornden) was way back in ’96, in the Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar.  When she first arrived there, no one thought she was from California, the other artists remarked that she struck them as still “so Filipino.”

This past month, though, when she was in Scotland, a few people surprised her by asking, “Which part of America are you from?”  Something in her demeanor has obviously changed, though she has no idea what.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Yoo-Hoo, Self, Paris is Calling!

It is a beautiful day in gay Par-ee —  which is to say, it is hot.

Self won’t even bother looking up Edinburgh weather as a point of comparison, she knows what it will show:  Rain, rain, and more rain.

But why did self wind up loving that city so much?

She doesn’t know.

Now, Paris beckons.  Her friend’s apartment (which allows her to stay in the City of Light without spending a single franc for lodging —  much thanks, Bonnie!) is in Montmartre.  Self can see the spires of the Sacre Couer just above her (Only, to get there would involve climbing 99 steps —  after self’s humiliating biking disaster in Amsterdam, she knows she must never set herself to climbing.  Or biking.  Or, for that matter, walking — ever again)

It is about mid-afternoon, and self has spent all day on her friend’s couch, looking at the building directly across the street and observing which windows are open and which have actual people visible behind them, and watering the potted basil and geraniums.  She hasn’t even bothered locating the TV (She’s sure there is one somewhere), which is one of the most surprising lessons she received from Hawthornden:  One can survive without CNN!

View: Paris Apartment Building, Montmartre

She is reading Monday’s issue of The Guardian, which she bought yesterday (Yes, self knows that yesterday was a Tuesday, and that the copy she purchased was a day old).  In this issue, Andy Murray is still riding high, and Sharapova still thinks she has a strong chance of winning the Wimbledon title.  There is an article bemoaning the ineptitude of Great Britain’s men’s 4×100 relay team (bungled the baton hand-over.  You’d think, sniffed The Guardian, that “they were trying to pass on a bar of soap rather than a baton.”)

Here’s a set of random (shocking) developments:

  • The new Spiderman movie, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, is receiving distinctly mixed reviews. But here are a few positives, gleaned from Eric D. Snider’s movie review blog:  Andrew Garfield, as the new Spiderman, projects “effective wimpy vulnerability.”  Rhys Ifans plays “erudite but disheveled one-armed genius” Dr. Curt Connors.  This new version of Spiderman is directed by Marc Webb, and self didn’t immediately catch on that it is very funny to have a director named Webb for a movie about a web-generating superhero —  that is, until Eric D. Snider brought up the director’s name and included a parenthetical “No pun intended” statement.
  • Katie Holmes filed for divorce.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court went 5-4 for Obama’s health care initiative (This was last week’s news, but self missed the chance to blog about it, that’s why she’s mentioning it now!)
  • Self is going through major Hawthornden withdrawal:  yesterday, she called Marylee in Barcelona, not once but twice!

Also, her heart starts beating really fast at the prospect of dragging two suitcases laden with books, down the three flights of stairs of Bonnie’s apartment (It was a real bear shlepping these from Amsterdam —  it was a good thing Bonnie and her daughter Oona took turns dragging the suitcases to first, the train station in Amsterdam; then, to the apartment in Montmartre).  Now, both those kind citizens are in America, and self really does not know how she is going to manage dragging two suitcases to the Paris train station, all by her lonesome.  See, this is something self wishes she had worked out in advance.  Admittedly, she did bite off a bit more —  no, WAY more —  than she could chew.

So now, her feeling is:  she should just stay in Bonnie’s apartment and never leave.  Not until it is time for her to board the Eurostar.  Better save all her energy for that.  Besides, Bonnie’s apartment has so many good books to read!  She even has the hardcover of The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century, edited by Isagani Cruz, so self can just pick up where she left off before her trip to Scotland:  the Butch Dalisay short story.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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