In the Lair of the Pack Rat

Bon jour, tout le monde!

I have located an apartment in Paris, so now I have an address and phone number. If you call and reach the answering machine, you will have the pleasure of hearing me mangle the French language.

My apartment is very french -small, dark, and inadequately bathed. But it has a great location – right across from St. Severin a block or two from the Seine and Notre Dame. My window looks out over St. Severin and the flowering chestnut trees next to it. It’s really for the view that I took the apartment. That and because the guy that’s renting it bought me some croissants and waxed poetic over the beauties of Paris. It’s true – I can be had for the price of breakfast and some talk.

The building was evidentally the home of Salvador Dali. On the side of it is a sun dial which Dali created.

The guy who usually lives here, Alain Van de Velde, is a real pack rat. All sorts of things are squirreled away in unlikely corners of the apartment. So far I’ve discovered a plastic bag containing carpet scraps. Several long pieces of molding. Some hinges. A collection of coasters. And most mysteriously, a crumpled envelope containing several rocks.

But that is nothing compared to the basement. The basement is the other reason that I took the apartment. M. Van de Velde assured me that I would be able to practice there. The French word for cellar is cave, and for this one, the word applies in both French and English. First you have to go down a spiral stone staircase. Then you need a flashlight to navigate a long low-ceilinged corridor. A padlocked metal “door” yields entry to the cave of M.van de (Unten)velde. It’s a series of three small rooms whith arched ceilings, the top of the arch being maybe 8 or 9 feet. If the studio was the den of a pack rat, this is more like the lair. It contains (Among items too numerous to mention) : a dress maker’s dummy. A wooden box overflowing with flexible PVC tubes. Several iron grates. A park bench. Several street and metro signs. A stack of classroom chairs. A large canvas bag full of rocks.

The cave is “carpeted” throughout with astro turf.

All in all, it seems the perfect spot for a vampire drummer to spend his/her daylight hours before ascending to the streets of Paris.

I’ve found (or been found by) my Congolese friend Alain. Now I’m taking lessons in drum, song, and dance. More on Paris a la Africain in my next missive.


About Tom Weiser
This blog is devoted to the development of the Bad Lama's Guide to Meditation.

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