I'm beginning to understand that I'm a bit of a masochist. I'm bored by things / people / places that make life too easy, which is probably why I like ornery cats, most fictional villains, winter and (if I'm being honest) the French.
To clarify, I have nothing against Golden Retrievers, damsels in distress, summer or ... who's fun and non-controversial?... the Swedish. It's just that I also like a challenge. I like to be initially offended but ultimately won over. I like things that don't care if I like them or not.
And thus, I love winter in Paris. It provides a dark, dismal, unapologetic, multi-month challenge that pushes you to your breaking point, but offers various olive branches along the way—pretty hanging lights, vin chaud, chocolat a l'ancienne, and a great excuse to drink serious red wines and then crawl into bed.
Philosophically speaking, Epicurus saw pleasure as the absence of pain, and Descartes considered the two to be linked on a continuous spectrum. I have to agree. Getting caught in a freak hail storm a few weeks ago (while wearing ballet flats) made arriving home to our cozy apartment on the Ile St. Louis that much more of a triumph. And going days (weeks?) without seeing the sun makes me feel totally justified in my decision to devote entire afternoons to the following "indulgent" activities:
- Lighting a fire (if you have a fireplace... otherwise, probably not a good idea)
- Putting on a nice gnossienne by Erik Satie (the ultimate snowy mood music)
- Popping open a bottle of deep red Cahors
- Eating (excessive amounts of) Saint Marcellin, and perhaps some Lindt Chocolate with Fleur de Sel
- Reading a book / writing nonsense in a journal
- Browsing through Le Fooding and planning my next epicurean adventure