Blues on the Pont d’Arcole

Well, now I’ve been in Paris long enough to have a favorite bridge. It’s the Pont D’Arcole, and it runs from the Hotel DeVille to the Ile de la Cite which is the island where Notre Dame is. From it, you can see the Seine running on either side of the Ile St Louis. You can also see two staircases which run down the side of the Ile de la Cite to the Seine. It’s not unusual to spot a Parisian skulk furtively down these stairs to relieve himself. Whenever I catch one at it, I like to jump up and down on the bridge and wave.

I’ve also been hear long enough to have caught my first dose of the blues. It was right around the full moon which makes me think that I’m a bit lunatique, as the French say. But anyway the circumstances were something like this – I went and watched the movie “Romeo and Julliette” (yes I know that it closed a while ago in the US, but it seems to take several months for the European release). Frankly, I didn’t like it that much. I was sitting next to an American woman and her friends. At the end of the movie she turned to her friends and said “Well, my heart is wrung”. So there I was with an opinion, and no one to express it to. I would have liked to say something like “Well, I’ll hand it to the costume designer, because John Leguizamo’s shoes were pretty boss, but what was it with Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech anyway? It semed like he was pretty worked up about something, but frankly I have no idea what.” But I felt like that would be a little harsh to say to someone who I didn’t know and who was clearly moved by the film.

Here’s the rub (let’s continue in the Shakespearean vein) – in NY, I would have been able to discuss that film with a number of pals. Eventually my opinion would have been nicely polished, and I could have nailed the movie pretty gracefully. Here, since I tend to avoid Americans, and try to speak my rather awkward French, my opinion comes out something like this “Are you being acquainted with the writer who was calling himself Shakespeare? I have seen the movie “Romeo and Juliette”, but in a cow-like way, the pleasure was not mine”. It’s just not the same thing.

Anyway, there I was feeling kind of lonesome when I got the old “be careful what you wish for” lesson. The very next night, I got a call from Alain, my teacher. He had left his girlfriend, and needed a place to crash. Of course, I offered my place as an emergency landing pad. It seems that emergencies last a while in Africa, so I got a roomate for a while. It soon became clear that I preferred to be lonesome rather than having the pleasure of listening to an African snore. Now we’re in that delicate stage of jettisoning the roommate while maintaining the relationship.

In other news, we’ll be heading south again for another dance workshop. I plan to stay down in Valence to work a little bit with Dieudonne Nkanza who seems to have a pretty clear idea about how traditional rhythms should be constructed. I’d also like to visit Rouen and work with Ferdinand Batantou who I know from camp in California, but we’ll see how that works out. Right now, my flight or the Congo is June 2nd, but I think that I may try to move it back a week, because there is evidentally a big African Dance and Drum show on the June 7th in Paris, and Alain wants me to perform in it.

That’s all for now.

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

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