Monday, April 23, 2007
Mixed Blessings and Guilty Pleasures
April has almost gotten away from me. Maybe it has been the wonderful weather or the house guests or the intermittent clouds of cement dust wafting through the apartment, peu importe, but being focused and productive has not been the result.
Montpellier has a typically Mediterranean climate. We get cold and wet weather for parts of the winter, but it is tempered by the proximity of the sea which results in a milder climate than areas only a few kilometers further inland. Much like San Francisco, a land suited to palm trees and Bougainvillea.
Summer seems to have arrived early this year after an already mild winter, and in one fell swoop everyone has packed up their winter wardrobe and planted their beshorted derrieres in the outdoor cafes. You can feel this huge collective sigh of relief as if everyone had been trudging through the snow every day for months. After all, when you are accustomed to 300+ days of sunshine, a little rain and cold can put a real crimp in your winter. There is a telltale sound reverberating along the narrow medieval streets. Flip Flap Flop Flap. The thongs have arrived, and with them, the advance guard of tourists. (I am speaking of the thongs you wear on your feet, not those to be found on the afore mentioned derrieres. We are far enough from the beach that we are not generally subjected to that level of fashion faux pas.)
Still, we have a couple of months before the veritable hordes arrive from the North, and until then, the locals take full advantage. The Sunday mornings are particularly blissful. The youngsters are still in bed nursing their hangovers from the previous evening’s club scene so the old folks can hobble down to their favorite cafe, and calmly soak up a little sunshine.
On this particular Sunday these particular old folks were nursing their own hangovers from the previous evening’s 6 hour dinner party. By 11:30 we managed to drag our weary butts out of bed, grope our way to the local polling place, and then find a free semi-shady table in one of the squares which on any other day would be overflowing with tourists and university students. Along the way we ran into friends who decided to join us for lunch. And afterwards we all spent the rest of the afternoon at their killer apartment overlooking the rooftops, drinking coffee, talking design and antiques, and of course bemoaning the state of politics in the world. This taking us into the evening when it is time again to talk food and figure out what to do for the next meal.
Ah... house guests gone home, kids with the moms, concrete floor complete... one could almost
slip into the dream of a care-free existence.
What do you feel like doing for dinner?
You want me to install the door on the laundry closet?!
... Some people really know how to burst your bubble.