I awoke with a sense of unease on Sunday morning. Just out of sorts and cranky without knowing why. What is this vague longing? Is it home sickness? No… I thought, shivering as I considered once again the polar vortex. No, it’s just that I… miss the children. That’s it. I miss the children and the dog. Terribly.
We hear a lot about declining birth rates in Northern Europe, but this is a lie given the evidence of the Paris neighbourhoods we frequent, which is everywhere central. There are schools partout. At least four in a two block radius from us. Boisterous crowds of children, just bursting with energy, blast down the streets. Get out of the way! School’s out. In every museum, every age group from toddlers to teens, is being led about, lectured to and shown the finest in art, technology and even instruments of war.
The point is that there is no getting away from the large crowds of extremely cute and well-dressed children everywhere we go. On top of school groups there are the crowds of little charmers in the parks on weekends, and the packs of stylish and amusing children’s clothing stores which almost outnumber womens’ boutiques. You can never get away from the longing.
As I said in my first post, on the last trip to France, when we rented a house and stayed for six months, the children and dogs came too. Since then, one dog has died, another is too old to come and the children have their own commitments to attend to: college, work and graduate school. And I thought it would be 100% great to go away and leave my commitments behind. It would seem that the ties that bind do not loosen so easily. And life once again, shows us how little we know ourselves. Having spent so many decades loving and caring for people and creatures large and small it’s just not possible for me to drop that role without a bit of disorientation. Well, what to do?
One possibility is to steal a dog. I have been thinking about this with increasing frequency. Many, even most, street beggars here have dogs. These dogs are cute. Really cute. Would it be so wrong for me to grab a dog, stuff it in my purse and run like hell? I could surely give it a better life than it has living on the street.
I try to put this thought out of my mind, even though dogs like the one above are very adorable and conveniently purse-sized. I’m sure he’s very tired of listening to all that accordian music. Really. Someone needs to save him.
Obviously, a distraction is in order so, again, what should I do? It’s obvious: the Louvre. It’s the weekend, so no school groups, no beggars with dogs, and once inside I know where to go to escape the crowds.Tip: If you are overwhelmed by crowds at the Louvre head down. Just keep going down to the lowest levels where there is really interesting art and very few tourists. Thus Alan and I found ourselves in the International Gothic Sculpture galleries in the basement of the Denon pavillion. I don’t think I’ve been there before. Here is the kind of thing:
Zoom to see what she’s up to. Oh dear. We cannot, dear reader, escape our feelings, can we? Here I am in Paris, missing my children and it cannot be avoided. Lesson learned. I have to go now and see if that accordian doggy is still around. Just looking. Maybe if I adopt the master too, it will all be fine and we can amuse ourseves with accordian music by the hour.