So we walked to the Ile de la Citie via the River Siene, taking pictures in the rain along the way, and came to behold the mighty church of Notredame where the mythological Hunchback climbed its mystical gargoyles and rang its haunted bell for the sake of love. We walked the medieval streets through the Ile’s and got a pure shot of hot chocolate that was thick with raw cocoa [tasted like a melted chocolate bar!], and SBX ate a lemon tart. An old man with an accordion played his charming songs procuring tourists coins. We walked down by the River Siene again and walked its cobbled path as the cloudy day turned into night and the Xmas lights lit the city. The Siene was colored a muddy yellow and flooded certain passageways alongside the riverbank. SBX and I would be walking down a long stretch, come to a corner, turn and realize that we couldn’t continue unless we were armed with a paddle and float. The river was abnormally high. We didn’t mind the hassle for we were doing the kinds of quiet things we don’t often get to do back home. Just walk, hand in hand, surveying the land with its mini-obstacles. I thought of taking SBX to Riverside Park on the upper west side of Manhattan, where I used to play as a kid, and show her the park and Hudson River views when we got back home. I often forget the free things one can do in NYC.
We came upon Place de la Bastille where children were enjoying a small amusement fair, jumping on trampolines to BANANARAMA. I wanted to sit and people watch at a café on Rue de Faubourg Saint Antoine and we drank red wine to the hoi polloi. We wrote in our journals as French policemen hassled drivers on the road. Just like any major metropolis, no matter where you are on earth, there is an internal bustle that thrives, shucks, and jives. Just look and you’ll see it everywhere. Speaking of “everywhere,” the late Hugo Pratt’s CORTO MALTESE was selling DIOR Perfume on every other billboard. It was odd to see a comic book character/drawing employed to sell such an item. Had Pratt’s uber-marine replaced Ian Fleming’s suave secret agent, 007: James Bond, in the war for dapper Dan?
We walked through District 12 which housed many ethnic restaurants, including my default favorite; Chinese. It had video and music shoppes and looked a little like the upper west side of Manhattan, where I grew up. I could see this being an area that I would move to first if I ever desired to take a chance in France. It was available and familiar. Tired from walking all day, SBX and I hopped the RERE and caught the day up in our journals. I got sexy with SBX, which prompted her to write me a provocative note that made my pants tight. Our romantic woo got interrupted by the foul stench of cigarette smoke as two black punks smoked a few seats away. Righteous with angry vigor, I made it public that I was ready to throw down by opening up the metro car windows, allowing for a tease of fresh air. Not only was it illegal to smoke in the metro [my sanctuary] but also obnoxious and rude, a non-negotiable act. The punks and I shared a staring contest as my Hulk-out rose. I wasn’t in the business to play feeble and they weren’t going to back down. Youth was steering their attitude. Respect was guiding mine. So, we rode the trip in a stalemate: punks smoking, me boiling. They won, flipping me the bird, as SBX and I left the metro. But, what had they won? Would they have smoked had a Police Man surveyed the car? No. Were they winning anything at all by smoking in one of the very few places in France they shouldn’t? Losers.
We walked back to Caroline/Torston’s house where a lovely chicken and basil Thai dinner with saffron rice was home cooked. We drank more wine and played a bunch of board games, which SBX and I love but never find time to play. Games like YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK [bloody awful], WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? [I’m terrible with fact and trivia, ergo, my rampant imagination], and RAPIDOUGH [which is like PICTIONARY but with dough. Another thing I’m terrible at -- reducing information into a few measly strokes]. We called it a night and hit the sack; making incognito love but the creaky bed betrayed our covert sex. SBX went to La-La-Land, and I let Jack Kirby’s MIRACLE MAN, send me.