June 19, 2012: Je Suis Ici

            Lady Leighton and I arrived in Bargemon late last night. She repaired to her house; I to ours. After fumbling in pitch blackness for fifteen minutes, I telephoned Tevye in Phoenix. “Where the hell is the circuit breaker on this dump?”

            Of course, it’s not a dump—and I’d forgotten how much I love our tiny home here. Once I got the lights switched on, I wandered around looking at all the stuff we’ve piled up here over the years: The little marble elephant clock; the pie safe full of oddly striped linen; the big oil painting of the naked lady touching herself, painted by “G. Vidal” in 1935, that we got for nothing from a junk shop in Le Muy.

            After I’d looked at everything, I got out a box of rags and started cleaning. It’s been three years since either Tevye or I have been here, and the place is plenty dusty. We’ve had a few renters and loaned the house to friends a couple times during those three years; someone left behind a guitar; someone else stole all our Laurie Notaro books. Otherwise, everything was the same. Home.

          This morning, I headed for centre ville for coffee, as one does in the summer here. I had memorized a phrase that would explain why we’ve not been around much recently (“Je n’ai pas été ici parce que je me préoccupe avec mon vieux parents.”) but there was no need. In a French village of 900 people, everyone knows everything about everyone, and the lovely, gracious Bargemonaise I had the pleasure of bumping into never once asked where Tevye and I have been. All our old friends and acquaintances asked “Comment-est votre mere?” right off; most also asked “Ou est ton ami?” (“Il est mon mari,” I gently corrected them. “Et il est avec mes parents au Phoenix.”)

            Americans like to talk about how unkind the French are, but you can’t prove it by me.

No matter how often I look at the view from the kitchen, it still knocks me out.

Thing I Hate Today: Propaganda

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4 Responses

  1. Look in the little basket on the desk in the laundry room, s’il vous plaît.

  2. Is that where the Lauri Notaro books went?
    Robrt Pela, not all of your friends remember their high school or college french. What the hell did you say at the end of your blog post?

  3. Why do I hear fighter jets passing overhead and phones ringing incessantly in the background when I look at this picture? (Wait – is that a chainsaw?)

  4. Breathtaking. All of it!!!

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