Wednesday, June 13, 2007


So the wish to travel has kicked in again, after an amazingly complacent period of just sitting. I remember Jack's meditational dictum: 'Just sit. Spring will happen.Grass will grow.'
Well, he's right about the grass, but Spring has been elusive: gray mornings, jacaranda late in blooming, just like me. Finally caught up with my old, wonderful editor from the Wall Street Journal Europe, now with Bloomberg in Belgium, so that sort of reconnected me with how it was when I was spinning and swimming through Europe, and stirred up a visceral longing for different places, wonderful friends I made on those journeys, or even, sometimes, sitting still in exotic locales.
One of those was Suzie Coul I shall call her for short, or better, Suzie Cool, who is married to a French diplomat. We met when we were both crashing the swimming pool at the Bristol in Paris, and became friends. Pierre(wouldn't you know that would be his name) is a most unusual Frenchman-- extremely tall, which not many of them are, and terribly funny, which none of them are, humor being the Frenchman's shortest suit (think of their national love for Jerry Lewis.) I guess that isn't really fair, since we had a national love for W. None of my friends of course, but he did get elected-- the second time, anyway.
So there is Lucky Pierre, married to the delightful, blazingly red-haired Suzie, waiting for news of his next posting. Their last post was Botswana, where I was only once tempted to go visit them, and that because they were going to have a celebration of Bastille Day. Didn't go, though, cause one swing through Botswana is enough, and I had done that as part of my Africa saga. Suzie has an apartment in Paris where she goes to renew in-between postings, and also has a con which is better than any my mother could have conceived,-- she represents a film distributor in S. Africa, so she goes to film festivals. (She was originally in Zimbabwe, married to someone else-- she's a Brit-- when she met Pierre who was next in line to be the French representative when the one who was first in line was standing by an open window and was shot dead, an expression I learned in Belfast.) You could always spot her on the Champs-Elysees from behind, by this great, high, curly mat of bright orange hair, and the careless, dancer's swagger.
Having re-lit my traveler's candle, I am going to join Suzie for the Deauville Film Festival, as she is an example for us all, traveling with just one suitcase that contains a long skirt so she will always be appropriate, and the British accent also works. After that we hope to go to Honfleur where we were once and she taught me Pierre's dictum that if they're not nice to you, go someplace else immediately, which could really keep you moving in France. We ordered moules, the serveur was scornful as it was three minutes past the hour when they were on special, so she took my hand and we went across the street and had lovely and specially priced moules. A good lesson learned.
But now, oh helas! Pierre has received his new post. I had begged him to let it be someplace I would want to visit. But Suzie has just informed me it is Eritrea. Good God, I didn't even know there was an Eritrea. It is, apparently, right on the coast of some sea I will have to check out what it is, between that sea and Ethiopia, which got a lot of coverage in today's New York Times because it has children you can adopt with a lot of problems(the adoption, not the children.) But Ethiopia is mad at Eritrea because they'd like to have a coast. I just Googled it to assuage my ignorance, and found that Eritrea is impoverished, the gross national income is $291 a year and they need food. I wonder what Pierre has done to deserve such a post.
Suzie is very gay about it, though, looking forward as she manages always to do. She says the whole place is quite Fellini-ish, as it was built by the Italians during Mussolini times, and says perhaps they can even induce me to come. I don't think so. Though I worry about how I will spend Christmas. I was lucky last year, invited by friends in New York to a number of festive dinners, but I don't know how Sirrio is doing (Jean? How's it look?) and Carleen dropped her mobile phone in the toilet, so there's no way to tune in. It might be interesting to spend Christmas in a place where nobody has been and would never want to go again.
Well, we'll see. I know you think it's a long time away, but they're already sending me gift offers on the e-mail for Christmas, along with many chances at Romance from all of which I am deleting without opening as I saw 'Away from Her' and understand the best it will be for me is not getting Altzheimer's.
Some thoughts I got while seeing that remarkable movie:

How do we know a clam is happy?
That a bug in a rug feels snug?
Or a doornail is dead?
Or the punch is pleased?
Or the whip is smart?
And how can the snow be pure
Once it's been driven?