Friday, March 18, 2016

Beginnings of Spring

I have never been a fan of winter, to the extent that I mainly loathe it with a fiery passion which I excessively wish was hot enough to wipe it out completely. Since I have chosen to live most of my adult life thus far in climates far north of the equator, I have to suffer through the changes of season like a big girl. That is to say, I spend my time from December through March bundled up in 25,000 layers of clothing and drinking an abundance of alcohol. It is not until the sun begins to thaw the frozen air that my natural state of freedom and frolicking begin to emerge. 

I have not yet found a city that I enjoy in winter, for the sole reason that winter is evil no matter where you are. I tolerate the chill and snow in NYC during Christmastime because it is festive and inspiring and part of the natural progression of life. But once the ornaments have come down around town, I anxiously await the more temperate days of springtime. Paris is no exception. While I believe it a stunning city filled with beauty and charm, it does not escape the shackles of winter that threaten us all with suffocating angst.

That being said, at long last always comes a day when warmth spreads throughout the land and hope returns its glimmering smile. As I have been taking the opportunity (nay, demanding the necessity!) of scheduling days off for myself lately, today I had the entire afternoon to wander where I chose. Last night was of course Saint Patrick's Day (Erin go Bragh!) so, while not out very late, I did spend the morning feeling rather tired and sluggish. Ultimately, I made way to the center of Paris to buy a cheap necklace I recently had my eye on and so sallied forth down Rue de Rivoli, around the Louvre, and through the Tuileries for a refreshing springtime jaunt. I spent some minutes staring out onto the Seine from Pont Neuf, a moment or two gazing up at the Arc du Carrousel, and quite a while people-watching the tourists roaming in the pleasant air. 

It was one of those afternoons that reminds you of how wonderful it is to live in a gorgeous city filled with history and architecture and cultural anomaly. One of those days when you feel lucky to have experienced things that transcend your original concepts of normal and familiar. When spring begins to take hold, we all wake up from hibernation to smell the flowers. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Parisian Purulence

It has been a couple of weeks now since I have written. As so often is the case, life sweeps us up within its many voluminous layers and distracts us with the minutiae of everyday maintenance. You go to work, meet up with friends, try to exercise, fail in attempt to exercise, go on a date, drink too much wine, and re-wine and rewind. Happily, the glimmering tinges of spring have slowly begun to appear and that nice little skip in step that we all look forward to is kicking into gear... Ah, poetry...

That is, however, only after I become overrun, attacked, and otherwise physically conquered by invading allergy toxins that disallow any and all participation in merrymaking. Circa mid-last week I was casually finishing up a hard day's work when all of a sudden I felt a slight tingling in the back of my throat. Perhaps I hadn't had enough water that day? Maybe the heat was on just a bit too high? But as I walked from the office to the metro, en route to a meetup I was scheduled to host, I recognized that my nose was also a mite stuffy and that ole familiar feeling of post-nasal drip was rearing its leprotic little head. The seasons had started to change and the air was releasing the scent of flowers, the taste of sunshine, and the suffocating pestilence of pollen.

Throughout the evening, (already made rather difficult by the fact that I had chosen a bar equipped with giant sports screens on a night boasting one of the most important football matches of the moment, making it impossible to do anything other than huddle in various corners until the mass exodus of French fans) I felt increasingly exhausted, hot, and filled to the brim with sinusy goo... Yes, gross. Oh, how very gross.

As this is an annual custom for me, I cannot feign surprise in the knowledge that I will be spending the next week in utter envy of the rays of sun rippling through the clouds as I sneeze and cough my way from day to day. I cannot suggest that Paris has offered anything in the realm of relief from chronic sinus/allergies and would in fact confess that it seems one of the least helpful climates I have ever lived in. The temperate atmosphere, wiffle-waffling between bright sunshine to overcast rain showers every other second does nothing to alleviate my woes. That, combined with notorious pollution at times certainly helps in imagining why the plague was such a problem centuries ago.

Happily, my body will acclimate in a week or two and I will be back in action just in time for April showers to bring May flowers. But since it will be warmer, I have some trips planned, and nothing makes me happier than Paris in springtime, I shall cease my incessant whining at that time (hmmm mute) and freely frolic into the sunset.