New Yorkers before me, LA moguls behind, to the right the road, to the left; Le Steak
Millennial children, children no more; narcissist still. The photo, then photos, then surfing.
The line wraps around, 20 people 20 minutes. One car towed. Almost worth a photo, that. Why a New Yorker thought it was worth a video I don’t know but I do know it was sunny and 78 in Catalina. Poor Roderick, he forgot the gin. Important information for those in LA to transmit to their colleagues in Paris. How little did Alexander for see the evolution of his invention.
Black dress, white apron, formal service with a semi forced smile. I’ll receive a real one later tonight. Relais de l ’Entrecote. Paps frites, steak, walnut salad. That’s it. Well there is wine and desert. The cuvee I think. Yes the full bottle. This is Saturday night in Paris.
Dinner arrives: the steak, the frites, the wine. First scent, first sip. The aroma of spring, fresh berries with a hint of oak. Who needs tea and madeleines when one has frites?
First frite, first temptation, first memories. I close my eyes, yes, memory lives. It is 19Reagansomething. Toulon. Christmas Eve. Le Fleet Mediterranean is afire with lights. A celebration at anchor, at home. What time is it in Paris? In Washington they know, “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!” They must be at dinner in Paris.
Thomas, Nolan, John, Fredrick. Shopping bags scented with perfume, stomachs agrowl. An ally, a lighted menu. Five steps down, a door. Five words of French between us. Steak, frites, le adventure. The four Americans, after days of scrubbing, still slightly scented of 37 days of diesel and amine and sweat. Perfume de submarine.
She’s eight months if a day. She waves us to a table, the last table. Four menus appear. Needless for what do for young red blooded American men desire for dinner in a strange, strange land? Like ravenous wolves we make short work of a fine meal and chew up a lovely language all the while; but in innocence, like the wolf.
Thomas glances at his watch. Mickey is pointing to 11. The hour approaches. The mousse and coffee are gone, as are the other guests. The bill arrives. Her smile has faded, her hair is damp, her belly full to bursting.
The balance paid yet still pockets empty. Duty beckons. Duty. Francs, who needs francs when duty calls? Babies need francs, to bath them, to cloth them, to love them.
Time has flow by in an instant. It is Saturday in Paris. A rumble grows from afar, from Place de Monge. Generation Indentiare, closer now, closer they come. “France for the French!” Is it “Hammer time” on Rue de Ecoles? The volume is a roar as they march by my hotel window. The rain is soft. Tears? Tears from Joan perhaps, the Maid of Orleans? No. From Jesus, who weeps for he knows what is to come.
Life, life must be lived. The diner must be eaten. The New Yorkers and the Moguls; they must be endured. Such are our trials. Easy trials to pass when one in Paris on a Saturday.
The waitress arrives. I tell her to bring desert for the New Yorkers and put it on my tab. It is their first anniversary I explain. They are still newlyweds. Seven years in June as she gestures to herself. Her smile is genuine now.
The Moguls? In the back, with the expense account crowd. Lost in the ravages of superficiality, in Paris on a Saturday. Phones still in hand. The internet; strangling the mind of man as easily as nets in water strangle fish.
Click, click click. Heels strike the sidewalk as I turn left a Foucquet’s. It is only a short stroll on the Champs Elyse, towards the Etoile, watching the crowd. A glance at the watch, not Mickey’s hand this time. The time of the child is past. Onward I stroll. Past wealth, past crowds, past joy, past homelessness.
Questions arise: Which beggar to grant charity, which to deny? What duty beckons now?
What time is it in Paris? Don’t they know “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!”? What time is it in Paris? In Washington it is a dark hour and the year is 20Neoconsomething.