Every once in a while, quite by coincidence, two things converge and remind me that life can be interesting… And prophetic.
Two summers ago, as I began my tenure as head of school at Tuxedo Park School, I had the pleasure of reading The Paris Wife,
and while halfway through it, I saw Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. I loved the interplay of those two bits of life, and I started reacquainting myself with Hemingway, reading various things, On Paris, A Moveable Feast, etc. It was fun for a devoted Francophile to rediscover so much of what I loved about my time in France, first as an undergrad, then as a graduate student, then as a young wife and mother, swapping homes across the Atlantic with a college friend and his family.
Fast forward to today and a long awaited trip back to France with two now grown children and a husband (from Lebanon) of 25 years (we married in Paris in the summer of 1988), and I am reading Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs,
And here I sit, on a gorgeous and sunny Sunday morning, reading Maureen Dowd online in an Internet cafe on the west coast of France in Brittany, and all I can think is, what is she talking about?
I often love her editorials, but here she comes across as a snarky American with “meaning of life” envy. While staying with friends in Paris, we have been the recipients of nothing but fun and kind interactions as tourists in Paris.
While hiding out among the locals in Brittany, even more so. No tourists here, at least not of the Foreign variety. There are French on vacation to be sure, but we are having a great time, enjoying a sane pace of life and feeling very fit and healthy, as we walk almost everywhere, even while enjoying lots of pain au chocolat, French wine, and plenty of pate and baguettes.
Let’s call a spade a spade. The French know how to live, how and when to work and when to play. I would do well to bring a little more of that joie de vivre back home with me…
In the meantime, I’ll ignore Maureen Dowd, keep reading Claire Messud and take France and the French for as long as I can get them…
Au revoir, tristesse and Maureen Dowd!!