Sunday, January 13, 2008


I happen to adore straight lines. Give me point A and point B and I can very quickly tell you the fastest and most direct way to make it between the two. I pride myself on always knowing where I'm going and I have perfected the "don't even THINK about fucking with me" walk down a city street. I despise pulling out a map of any sort on the street and instead spend hours perusing routes before leaving home, memorizing street names and finding my beloved straight lines.

When I first looked at a Parisian map, I was horrified...a mess of wandering streets which change both shape and name seemingly every few hundred feet and whose sole purpose is to drive my control freak nature berzerk with confusion. But one of the joys about moving to a place with someone who is from there is that you get to let go and follow them. You will not have to figure out a maze and constantly check your handy pocket map. You will not have to panic with every lost step because you are with a NATIVE and all you have to do is concentrate on looking cool.

I have quickly realized that this does not apply to me at all because trying to follow around FB is much like trying to follow a senile cat. He actually prefers wandering circles, unfinished lines and messy triangular misshapes. He wanders here and there, stopping to look at this and at that, losing his focus, forgetting where we are, turning multiple 180° circles then quickly jetting off a different way, leaving me in the dust until he stops mid-thought again to look at yet another fascinating building corner or poster in a window. My particular favorite is when he stops in the middle of the street to finish his thought or start another one, completely oblivious to oncoming traffic or to the fact that I am screaming for some continuity and order.

This makes him and therefore ME highly susceptible to anyone looking to bum a cigarette, ask for change or to sign a petition. I am convinced we have signed up to to vote about 12 times (my American mind can't compute the concept of "protest" yet and I just think everyone is signing up people to vote). I am also convinced that we have given away next month's rent in change and cigarettes. My million mile an hour walk has been rendered useless here and I am now at the mercy of perpetual distraction and a burning sensation of chaos every time we leave the apartment.

My straight lines are gone, much like my language skills and my sense of familiarity. But oh well, I'll figure it out eventually. Paris may be a bunch of circles but I am really really good at memorizing. :)


jessica said...

you can sneak a mini-map in your purse or get one of those moleskine city books for paris and pretend you're journaling or writing down brilliant extemporaneous lyrics when really you're seeing if Rue de Vielle de Temple is the same as Rue du Temple? ;)

kirsten said...

I think you should get a tattoo. Or really a series of tattoos. Each Arondissement. That way you will never be lost without a map. And as you conquer one you get the next. Rock on.