“Out with the Old, In with the New. Pain or Pleasure?”
I haven’t seen Paris in several days now, except from the bedroom window and the news and information online and on TV. The flu that has been running rampant through the city caught up on the unsuspecting victim that I am.
Thanks to the latest technology (a laptop computer, WiFi, Web Cam, cordless phones and remote controls), the office can be almost fully functional from the bed without having to move a muscle except for an occasional trip to the loo. Even the doctor (the most amazing physician anyone has ever had), faxed a prescription for antibiotics that could be printed from across the apartment.
Friends have steadily volunteered to bring in food, so while the restaurants have been missing the usual patronage, I’m not for wont. After a tiresome trip to the pharmacy on the corner, then at the market while purchasing “Actimel” (Dannon’s “DanActive” in the U.S. — which helps strengthen your body’s defenses), wearing gray pajamas under a winter coat with a white beret closely resembling the color of my skin, I bumped into Omar, of Chez Omar, the favorite neighborhood “cantine.” Even he remarked about the white tone having replaced the normally healthy red.
Meanwhile, the renovation to the apartment scheduled to start yesterday has been postponed till next Monday providing time to recuperate. Le Provençal sits patiently awaiting its next guest — me.
The upholsterer, a man with amazingly the same name as the street on which Le Provençal resides, Monsieur Charlot, came yesterday to take away the couch and arm chairs that have been dear to the family for almost 20 years. Untold numbers of friends have slept on that comfy couch over the years, with its colorful California print that American friends found inviting and French friends found tasteless!
Monsieur Charlot left the “grand double séjour” vacuous and hollow, exposing the old oak parquet floors’ previously hidden scratches, the balls of dust that had accumulated behind the furniture and an echo of every sound. For the moment, it’s a sad state of affairs for this room that has seen more human activity than most, acting as living room, dining room and office for the last 10 years, and now it must wait a few more days before the real work begins.
Over the next six weeks, a complete metamorphosis will take place. A “meneusier” (cabinet-maker) is constructing a double desk unit to span the length of the room. The electrical wiring put in myself will be completely redone to include enough plugs to satisfy a multitude of computers, printers, modems, routers, phones, etc. New lighting will be installed to enhance the art. Cabinet doors will be added to hide the dozens of old files that the IRS says one can’t dispose of for seven years. The dining room wall will get mirrored to add a sense of space and the ceiling will get classic molding.
Sitting propped up in bed with a view on the now unfurnished half-lived-in room through the double French doors, the memories of all the wonderful moments that have taken place in that space pass by my eyes like a parade of costumed merriment and a sense of loss has set in. Out with old, in with the new…and I wonder how many times over the course of the last three-and-one-half centuries this room as suffered the same pain or pleasure?
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. For a personal recommendation of the best doctor in Paris, email me at [email protected]
P.P.S. It happened again, as it always does…when a reader doesn’t agree with what I have to say, usually something politically oriented as was Monday’s newsletter about voting the American primaries by Internet, they tell me I don’t have a right to say it at all! Funny about that…somehow I assume that in my own newsletter, I DO have the right to say anything I wish! No? Note that there was no political view expressed, but only an encouragement of readers to express their own opinions. Yet, some found that offensive. Not a very ‘democratic’ outlook, is it?