Saturday, April 25, 2009

Roller-blades at the Ready

As the owner of a pair of roller-blades, I can confidently say that there is nothing less cool than  roller-blades. I am still conflicted about my own. Many years ago (back in the U.S.), I used to wear them around my neighborhood while kind of pretending I wasn't wearing them. Oh these? They're just my shoes. I could never reconcile my desire to roller-blade with the self-loathing that it inspired. 

Parisians are not conflicted on this front. When it comes to their status as bladers, ils l'assument. They own it. It amuses me that a demographic that is generally so put together can throw all that style to the wind when it comes to roller-blading. 

MC hammer pants (preferably denim)? Check. 
Whatever shirt I happen to be wearing (even if it's a blazer)? Check.
Perhaps some type of strange head garb? Check. 
Blades? Of course.

Good to go. 

Now that spring is here, those who spent all winter long looking totally normal (walking, can you imagine?) have been reborn in all of their bladed glory. It's like monarchs emerging from cocoons.... no, it's like phoenixes rising from the ashes. And it is a sight to behold. 

Where I come from, you can't really be a self-respecting citizen and a roller-blader. In Paris, it's quite the opposite. Take the roller-cops for example:

Blades = Respect

All this roller-madness reminds me of an encounter I had last fall. I was walking down the Rue de Rivoli and found myself crossing a few intersections at the same time as a roller-blader. Eventually he sped off, but then circled back and asked me if I wanted to have a coffee. 

"Not with those things on your feet," I thought. 

Foolishly, I didn't know then that roller-blades were the height of Parisian style. Live and learn.    

Monday, April 20, 2009

Best of All Worlds

Since I moved to Paris, a few of my friends back home have labeled me an America-hater, or more specifically, a New York-hater.

Not true and not true!

I am tired of being accused of urban infidelity. I refuse to choose. I am content to be an urban swinger if it means I can enjoy the best of both worlds. Are we not allowed to love two cities at once?

People who try to make me pledge my allegiance to a single city annoy me almost as much as people who insist that I choose between cats and dogs, which I've always thought is totally nonsensical and unnecessary. (Apologies to certain readers that I am inevitably offending). But just so you know: neither dogs nor cats are going anywhere. You can enjoy them both forever.

When I first met Renee and Theresa, two of my most glorious Paris friends, we had an epiphanous moment when we realized we all saw eye-to-eye on this issue. Dogs are fun. Cats are nice too. The world balances itself out. We don't have to choose. We became fast friends. (They get it.)

For me, the dog-cat-balance also applies to cities. If anything, my time in Paris has made me love New York even more, if only because I now objectify it in the same way I used to (and still often do) objectify Paris. And why not? There is no clear line between the reality of a city and your own image of it. A city is what you believe it is. Like a cat is what you believe it is-- a nice friend.

So, yes, when I visit New York in May, I will likely complain about the dearth of worthwhile bread, cheese and affordable French wine. My blood pressure will rise. I will roll my eyes at the newest speakeasies to hit the "underground" bar scene. But secretly, I will really, really like it, and I will remember why all Parisians think New York is soooooo cool.

Yesterday, I sat on the bank of the Seine for a long time, watching the sun get lower in the sky. It was quite pretty, but I found myself really, really wanting a black and white milkshake from Shake Shack. For a moment, I sort of wanted to be in Madison Square Park. But then the sky did this:

Someday, maybe I can have an apartment in both cities... and I will fill the apartments with puppies AND kittens, roquefort AND milkshakes, baguettes AND bagels. I choose to have both.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Band of Traveling Minstrels

My neighborhood in Paris is decidedly uncool. It is historic and charming, but it is not an area where any self-respecting Parisian fashionista would settle. If a neighborhood can be awkward, mine is; and obviously, that's why I like it. 

Case in point: last Sunday I woke up, threw open the windows (as I do with an overly dramatic flourish every Sunday morning), and noticed there was a bit of a commotion going on down the street. Sunday, market day, is always chaotic, but this was clearly something special. 

When I finally made it outside, I came upon this: 

No need to be alarmed. Just a band of traveling minstrels. 

Rarely do I come across a scene that inspires me to SPRINT home for my camera, but I didn't have to think twice about this one. 

Blogging Update

I've started writing Paris-related posts for a few other blogs as well. You can read some here:

The Selby at Colette for Dossier Journal

Foodie Paris for HiP Paris

Paris' Best Blend for HiP Paris

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't Let This Fool You Into Thinking I'm Cool...

You all know I'm not!

But to read a little profile of me on Click here  

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baguette Injury Inspires Poem

Feeding Frenzy

I hurt myself with a baguette today.
While I was eating it,
shards of crust stabbed my lip.
It felt delicious.

I only want to eat like this, from now on.
I want the food to fight back.
It tastes better that way
and makes me feel more like a shark.

Take the mighty blowfish, for example,
who can kill a man
with poison, long after it,
itself, is dead on a plate.

who must be drowned in Armagnac
in order to taste just so,
obviously, of course.

No more insipid bagels.
Only food with dignity 
will pass these lips
scratching, kicking, biting, stinging.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One Summer In Europe -- Audio Essay

I contributed an audio essay to the "One Summer in Europe: Paris" podcast (available on iTunes and at 

To listen to the essay, click here, and if you're the impatient type, I come on at -23:22 mins. 

Also, why didn't anyone ever TELL me that I have a lisp?!?!? WTF.


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