Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Well, friends, it's been awhile. 6 months, in fact. I apologize for keeping myself away for so long, as alot has been going on; however, untill now, I've found it easier to process without having to "report" all the news here. That, and I haven't had words to talk about things very well....
but now I feel like if I don't blog, I might explode. I don't know who's out there still listening, but I realize I need to feel heard even if no one else gives a damn anymore.

Yes, I went to Paris. It was great, and I dont regret it. I feel somehow more whole as a person, having hurdled over a lifetime goal and met a dream ( The Louvre? Wow. Wow. Wow. I can die now. Or maybe not. It's really big, and I want to go back! But still, wanting to go there since I was 15 and finally doing it? Fabulous. No other word.). I found it inspiring in my life to have DONE something that I wasn't sure I could do, and it relaxed me more about other goals; instead of feeling so much pressure or hopelessness of the clock ticking away, I feel POSSIBILITY. That's a huge accomplishment.
At the same time, I felt a bit of a let down. The trip itself wasn't what I'd hoped; I think, as my friend V pointed out, after so much anticipation, there was no way it could live up to all the magic and greatness that I had infused it. I was really afraid of letting people back HOME down; they all wanted it to be PERFECT for me, and I did too. (After all, it was also my birthday! ). But it wasn't perfect, and sometimes, I just felt intense pressure to make it so rather than BE in the moment. I was also trying to cram an insane amount of crap into a week- I realized that once I got there that that alone was biting off more than I could chew. Add to the picture other unpleasantries, like it was fucking crazy cold to this now-thin-blooded Californian ( don't think I wasn't embarrassed to discover THAT about myself), and I got sick for a day from going to the Eiffel Tower and getting the shit beat out of me by the wind chill there. Then the whole experience of making my way around Paris, while less scary than I thought ( LOVE the Metro. LOVE it. Americans are stupid with their cars and dependence on them. STUPID, I say.), was exhausting and frustrating at times, because apparently, the French cannot make maps to save their lives. I had three of them and there were times I was so hopelessly lost and and cold and tired of walking I wanted to sit down and cry ( How Les Miserables, yes? Yes. But hardly poetic when you're LIVING it, you know?). The French are also clueless about giving directions. They may know their own arrondismont, but not be familiar with the others ( how is this possible?), IF they know their own arrondismont. WTF? On the whole I did NOT find the French to be rude or tourist-hating, so I think it must be some sort of cultural thing to gesture to the general AREA of a street and send someone on their way. Even the desk clerk at my hotel ( which was so quaint and sweet) did this, and I KNOW he was trying to help. By the end of the trip I actually muttered to myself ( after missing the bus to Versailles TWICE because of improperly posted information), "No wonder the Germans invaded so easily." ( I take it back. I promise, as long as I can come back and visit again.) .
And sometimes, as much as I tried to focus on the positive, it was just lonely. I had not wanted to go to Paris alone. People kept saying, "But it's PARIS!", and to that, I have to defer. True: it's PARIS. You can't bitch too much about going to Paris, especially for your 40th birthday. Most people don't get even a party for their 40th, and I got to go to France and flip the bird to the big 4-0. I'm not taking away from that, though, by saying: it would have been more fun to have a friend there, (and less daunting to navigate) if not a lover. I kept trying to pretend it was okay, but sometimes, it wasn't. That's just the fact of it.
Nonetheless, I got to see so many amazing works of things, my eyes could hardly keep up. The city was bursting with art and museums and food and I really, really liked the people (my take on the whole "the French are rude" angle is this: they suffer no fools. If you're acting like a moron, or taking too much time in line, or being entitled and boorish, then forget it. They simply don't put up with it. Not the waiters, not the service people, not the pedestrians. And they're not obnoxious about it, they just ignore you and wait for you to get some manners, or a clue, and THEN they will interact. Since this is my preferred way of being in the world anyway, I fit right in ( fuck you, Big Bookseller! I stand righteous!!) . I can understand that most Americans, expecting "the customer is always right / you should be kissing my ass no matter how tactless I am" American style of interaction, would be very offended. To them I say: fermez la bouche, vous grande troll. :).
I like the lifestyle, which is very balanced, in my view: you work hard, but when you leave work, you LEAVE it. You don't work 60 hour weeks, because you should balance it out with your family time, and your hobbies. You go to work, and the clock strikes 5, and you're outta there. And you go to the market, pick up a few things ( very few supermarkets in Paris), you go home. Make a little dinner, relax, and on the weekends, have actual leisure, instead of running hither and yon to do a million errands. Then you go back to work. The point isn't to make all the money you can; the point is to live well with the time you have. What a concept! And children: are funny and cute, but they do NOT act out in public. No, no, no. I don't know why, but it's just. Not. Accepted, and I guess the kids know not to even try. I'm sure I missed a few tantrums, but the ones I saw brewing now and again were quickly shut down with a sharp word. Amazing. Even on the Metro, filled with a million people at rush hour, everyone is quiet. Apparently this is a cultural thing: it's considered rude to yak away on your cell phone or be loud and talkative. I didn't even notice it at first, then one afternoon I looked around and realized: it's quiet in here. Everyone is speaking softly or reading or keeping to themselves. When I went back to the hotel, I read that that is just The Way of the Francais. Hmm. Go figure.
People ask me what the best part was, and I tell them it was this: the day I went to the Louvre, it snowed. I don't see snow very much any more these days, for obvious reasons. I was so excited, like a little child. I put on my boots and hat and coat, and went out. The streets were very empty, so it was a bit quieter than usual. I took the Metro to the museum, and got off at my stop. I cross the street, and enter the courtyard , and see the Grand Pyramids peeking at me through the huge cobblestone archways, and my heart jumped. Oh my god, how I'd waited to see those pyramids! I reached the center of the courtyard, and stopped for a moment to look around. The ground beneath my feet was covered in slushy white snow, and the area was near silent. I just took a breath and turned 360 to see all the grandeur of this place that to me, held things and visions that I had fallen in love with and kept in my heart as special and mine and sustained my soul with for decades, all contained in the massive space right under where I stood! It was so beautiful, the neoclassical arches reaching so high and proud surrounding from 3 sides(creating the long wings of the upper floors ) the modern pyramids of glass sitting on pools of rushing water, me there, covered in snowflakes and rain, and not a soul to disturb it. I just about cried.
So yes, there WAS magic. Maybe not everywhere or where I'd expected it, but it did show itself, and I keep it with me always, just for me. :).

In other news.......
I fell in love in March. That has had my full attention, understandably, from Then to Now. But I'll save that for later; it's a much longer story without a happy ending. As usual. In a tiresome way, I'll bet you aren't surprised: doesn't Jessica always end up crying over some boy? Who is it now, and *sigh*, what's the story with THIS one, right? I must admit to my embarrassment, that at this point, I wish it would STOP, the endless parade of elation followed by chagrin and pain. And in all honesty, whether I am taken seriously or not with my affairs of the heart, they are real and serious to ME, and the effect, at this point in my life of things ending like this is becoming CUMULATIVE. I am full of bitterness and humiliation and not to be hyperbolic, defeat. I don't want to do it anymore. I just don't. Switch my sign to "off duty" like a cab, and just live my life without the attempt to seek that kind of fufillment anymore. It hurts too much, and part of me is numbing out, I feel it inside, taking those desires and putting them in a box far away from potentional hurt. After this most recent failure, I fail to see the point of it all, and expect more failure at any turn. Why bother?

Sorry to end this entry on such a dismal note. This is where I am. And so, that's what gets written.