November 13, 2015, Phoenix- I spent a good part of the day here, taking my third and last Elementary Certification Test. While my day, to and from this bustling city, was peaceful, Paris’s Friday was the opposite. DASH, or IS, or whatever the relics of medievalism call themselves, cast the City of Light in mayhem and blood.
With 129, or more, innocent people slaughtered, I am on my knees in homage to the great city, which welcomed me in June, 2014. My adulthood has been late in blooming, and Paris gave me some key lessons, in that regard.
I learned: Two very different places, within the same city, can have the same, or very similar names. So, I trudged up the hill, to beautiful Montmartre, only to have a tourist office clerk patiently explain that my hotel would be found on Rue de Montmartre- down the hill, in central Paris.
I learned that French people can be quite annoyed with a visitor’s foibles, yet still provide fine service- this at my hotel, and again at the France Pass counter, in the west train station.
I learned that, even if one is slightly less than punctual, a tour guide is willing to take one into the group- once. I didn’t chance being a few minutes late, the second time, though.
I learned that I was fully capable of catching, and dodging, the various ruses used by the “Gold Ring Grifters” and the subway “Card Swipers” (whose “service” consisted of swiping one subway ticket through the card reader, in hopes of a 200 Euro tip.)
I learned that Paris, with all its majesty, its splendour, its sheer humanity, has room for one more, regardless of background, status or appearance. I also learned that its Metro cars are not like those of Tokyo. There are no pushers, cramming people in. On the Metro, the one more must often wait for the next train.
Still and all, when I return to Paris, perhaps in the summer of 2018, or five years hence, I will find a welcoming presence, expecting one who is a bit wiser in the ways of La Luminee. We shall not disappoint each other. I feel your sorrow, your pain, mon coeur.