Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Not To Do In Paris

                I crack a Blonderbrau at 11 in the morning.
                Yes, Chet Baker is on the CD player, his narcotic horn soothing my ragged soul from last night’s horrid affairs:  fighting with Swedes, fighting with friends, fighting against the Seine as the river rushes fast against the old worn cobblestone rocks.
                I’m an asshole.
                I learned that about myself recently. I suppose I always suspected it, but like the faint scent of shit in your home, you hunt, nose forward, to where the smell is coming from. You realize, with distain, that it’s coming from your own shoes.
                I smelled some shit recently, and realized it was all me.
                Sorry folks for the disgusting imagery.
                Of course, I come to Paris and start talking in scatological metaphors.
                No wonder the French make the most disgusting films in cinema history (for the brave, try Catherine Breillet’s The Anatomy of Hell). They have a very odd attraction to the perverse, and, being French myself, I can relate. In regards to my sexual penchants, one woman was quoted saying that I had a “very jaded sexual palette”.
                It’s sort of like looking through a dirty windshield driving 75 miles an hour in the rain.      
                I’ve learned there’s a lot to do here in Paris.
                I’ve also learned there’s a lot of things you probably should not do in Paris.  You can go to the Eiffel Tower, Paris’s wrought iron dick, erected in the most boring (and conveniently, most rich) part of Paris.  You can go there and you too might get pick pocketed by Taiwanese street thugs.
                You can check out The Champs-Elysees. This is a long boring street where wealthy people stroll, arm in arm, back to their decrepitly old inherited aristocratic apartments and lay in fine linen, dreaming about all the Algerian backs they’ve broken just to keep their sheets white and clean.
                You can go get lost in the Louvre and find yourself remarkably yawning. The world’s history of art spanning thousands of years and after an hour you’re already looking around for the fucking bar.
                In typical D’Abate fashion, I came to Paris through the ‘back door’, if you will. And, like a dirty mistress, Paris has fucked me in ways my wife never would.
                Paris is a flexible woman.                                 
                Paris gives it up on the first date.
                Paris dresses up in the bunny outfit without question. 
                Unfortunately, I have also done nothing in the right or ‘’functional’ way. And, resembling a mildly retarded young child lost with his arms flailing, I have, with swift authority, got myself into all kinds of shit. There will be short stories. But first, allow me to share a modest list of things you should not to do in Paris:

                HANG OFF BRIDGES
                As I stated in the last blog, there are no gates on these crazy old bridges. I have found myself almost every night hanging off the outer lips of these ancient structures, staring down into the black churning waters of the Seine, completely drunk. Now, doing this drunk is certainly a dangerous endeavour. But it feels really good.
                My Well Published Friend Reuben Turck, who has just arrived to join in the festivities here in Paris, has let his legs hang off the edge on several of these black, cold nights.
                Maybe I’m just friends with a lot of suicide cases and depressives. Maybe I like The Cure way too much. But I must say there is nothing like spitting in Death’s face and being inches away, drunk, discussing life, on the edge of these bridges. I’m such a writer cliché. Thick as butter and cheese.
                Notable Bridge Hanging Moment:
                After Reuben and I had a lovely home cooked meal and drank 14 bottles of wine, we decided to hang off one of these bridges and shoot the shit. We were just coming back from Pigalle and trying to wash the sin off of our clothes when we leap over, pop out the flask of shitty Scotch Whiskey, and start pounding it down like it had the antidote. We talk and talk. I’m surprised Reuben has not wanted to kill me yet. My personality is a little grating for some, especially in large doses.        
                Another woman once told me: “Matthew, you’re like molasses. Really sweet to taste, but too much of you just makes me sick.”
                Thanks, bitch. That’s how they roll in New York . Really kind women, but I digress.
                Reuben starts to get tired and wants to go home. I am thoroughly against this move of defeat.
                That’s when I see the fire.
                “Reuben, check that shit out,” I say, pointing down to the Quai, where there is a little fire burning and some dark figures huddled around the orange flames. “We have to go to them! Come on!”
                Reuben Turck, a well planned man, takes a small moment, contemplating following me all the way down to the rapey, old stone paths by the Seine at four in the morning as opposed to getting a good night’s rest.
                “Come on! Let us go to the fire!” I scream.
                Reuben Turck shrugs: “Fuck it. Let’s go. I’m in Paris and we’re chasing fire. Why the fuck not?”
                We head down to the Quai and come upon the small, fire warmed party. It’s three 16 year old boys celebrating one of their birthdays (one’s turning 17). They have a little radio playing The Doors. The one whose birthday is the Alpha Male, cool clothes, flicking his Zippo, tagging with his black pen on the old stone.  
                The Quiet One has got a serial killer vibe going on.
                “That’s the future writer,” Turck tells me later.
                And then there’s the kid who looks like Bob Dylan. Both Reuben and I look at each other, knowing this kid is probably destined for greatness.
                We all shoot the shit and I keep asking: “Where’s the women?”
                Reuben looks at me, dead pan: “These guys are kids. Why the fuck would they have women around? I didn’t have women at their age.”
                I look at him and mutter under my drunk breath.
                “I did,” I whisper.  I suddenly then realize how debauched my existence has been. 
                Fuck yes.
                The kids break out the weed, birthday boy pulling it out from the cuff of his pants. Reuben and I gladly smoke the teenagers drugs. Then we give them whiskey.
                If you ever come to Paris and you are looking for drugs, just walk the Seine late at night.

                Meeting characters out of novels is dangerous.
                Most folks in life are quite commonly normal.
                Then there’s the Other Ones.
                I would like to take a moment to offer a literary selection for those who may not have read this particular classic of literature. It’s by Hemmingway and it’s titled “The Sun Also Rises”. In this novel there is a young, attractive, unbelievable charming woman, who both commands the room and the hearts of any man she crosses by the name of Lady Brett Ashley. She is set to marry a man that is at the same time sweet and clueless to his future destruction. Jacob, the protagonist who pines for this women and because of a terrible groin centred wound cannot ‘love’ her, are both thrown into a maelstrom of alcohol, bars, and purposeful lies,  spanning countries and the unfortunate limits of their hearts.
                Do not meet women out of novels. They sometimes walk out of them and make reality truly fiction.          

                SPEAK AMERICAN.
                About the third week here I gave up being concerned about my shitty French. My ego could not bare the fact that I couldn’t speak to people, and when I did, my dialogue lasted as long a teenage kid’s sexual talents.
                I respect the French culture and language. It’s roughly 2,000 years old. I’m with them. Any American who talks shit on these people is either an idiot or simply an arrogant fuck. These French people are trying to preserve a beautiful and absolute gem of a culture against the capitalist claws of modern commercialization. Yes, they have the Pantheon. We have mini-malls. They hold the allure of hundreds of artists over time. We have Girls Gone Wild.
                These people are a prideful folk. How would we feel if people kept stopping us on the street just to ask us if we spoke Cantonese, right? We’d be like “No motherfucker, learn English.”
                Same rules apply.
                 French women are fucking beautiful. They are pulling me slowly into the chaotic abyss. And the abyss is like chocolate. Sweet, dark, and in the end, probably bad for you. 




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