An Education

I complain about many different things.  That makes me a pretty big jerk.  I am old enough to know that no one’s life goes exactly to plan and everyone has their own set of challenges to work through. But sometimes, I still get to complaining about things in life that I want that I don’t have, etc.  Every so often, I have a moment of clarity where I realize what a big jerk that I am, because I actually have things pretty good. I have a great family. I have a good education. I have a decent job.  I have a kind husband. Although it is unfortunate that husband has to travel a significant amount for his work and it sometimes means I barely get to see him at all, it does mean that we get a variety of frequent flier and hotel benefits which makes it easier to travel. We have not been blessed with children, but that also means that I can just blow off a few days at the last-minute and head over to meet David in Paris, and I only have to worry about my dog (who, of course, is missed tremendously).  So yes, I am trying to take advantage of those things that I do have instead of wallowing in all of the things that I don’t.  I think someone told me once that was the secret to having a happy life?

And that is what this Paris trip was. I was able to appreciate just being there in the moment and learning and seeing so many new things. Paris the second time is better than the first. You don’t stress about trying to see everything, and you don’t feel like such a fool.

Although, I must admit, I did miss Knightley and wish that he could have been there. I think I noticed it more this time that Paris is probably one of the most dog friendly cities on the planet. There were dogs everywhere – in stores, restaurants, and the Metro. Seriously, I saw a dog get served at a restaurant like it was a person. At a table. Inside. It was a dachshund, so it even wasn’t the cutest dog ever, but just some elderly Italian couple’s dog that got its food prepared by a chef and served at a table. We saw dachshunds, and too many poodles, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a few big dogs, and even two American cocker spaniels in parks. When I was talking about learning on this trip, here is one thing that dawned on me for the first time: they have American cocker spaniels outside of America. Coincidentally, in the book that I was reading on the trip about the Congolese wars of the past twenty years, I learned that Mobotu Sese Seko also owned American cocker spaniels. Crazed African despots owned American cocker spaniels even! Crazy. Who knew? This discovery rocked the foundation of my world, because it became impossible for me to imagine a sweet dog like Knightley owned by a man who killed thousands of his fellow countrymen and women.

Maybe the origins of why some French people and also some French-speaking African dictators like American cocker spaniels have to do with this:

That is Louis XIV, the Roi Soleil himself. Do you see what I see? I see that his hair bears a striking resemblance to Knightley’s when I go too long between haircuts for him. Compare:

Maybe despots and the French like being reminded of Louis XIV on a daily basis. The cocker spaniels that I saw definitely had longer hair (although they were blondes, unlike Louis).   This is my working theory on the matter.

I had some time to develop other working theories while in Paris. Maybe I will develop some of those in writing on the blog over the next few days.

Sure, my French language abilities may have degenerated beyond my ability to recite specific lines from the movie Amelie (and despite my best intentions, I couldn’t find a chance to mutter to anyone, “Il dort dans les chou-fleurs”), and I may not be une Parisienne naturelle (I don’t even know if that is an actual expression), but Paris is a great place to go and just enjoy things as they are, not as you wish them to be.

After all, wasn’t that the ultimate moral of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris?

2 thoughts on “An Education

  1. That was the first difference I saw between France and Switzerland. France had a lot more dog poo. I’m not saying that Switzerland is not dog friendly, but there is a significant difference in the amount of poo on the sidewalks.

    1. Maybe the Swiss people are just better with cleaning up after their dogs. I cannot conceive of dog ownership that doesn’t involve cleaning up after your dog, but apparently, some French people think differently than I do on that subject. I believe that if you are a responsible dog owner, then you should be allowed in restaurants, stores, and everywhere else with your dog. Maybe there should be a test. But the French just let ’em in, anyway.

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