20 February 2013

Force majeure

If you have read a lot of my blog entries, you might be familiar with a little ritual I have when I go to Paris. (Yeah, that sounds like I go there all the time, but I really don't.) I do realize that the time I shared the whole story here it was the French version, so I will give you the short version in English now.

I was in Paris for the first time and had a day and a half free after the meetings I had been there to participate in. As it turns out, the full day part of that was the day the museums are closed, so it really didn't make much sense to me to try to see the Louvre in a half day. Instead, I decided to make a memory for myself and set out on a kooky task that had me knitting in front of many of the great landmarks of Paris, much to the amusement of many a tourist.

I started at the Place de la Concorde. Dickens readers will recognize this as the spot where the gentry lost their heads in the French Revolution, under the watchful gaze of a knitting Madame de Farge. (Now you know where the knitting part comes in.) I continued, meticulously noting which rows I knit where, until casting off in front of the Assemblée nationale and retiring back to the Café Very in the Jardin des Tuileries for a refreshing drink and a breather to write my memorial note for my first friend to have died of AIDS.

I went on to the Pont Neuf, down the stairs to the Quai des Orfèvres, and I tied it to a ring under the bridge, "wrapping" the Pont Neuf just like Christo and Jeanne-Claude, if on a rather smaller scale. Now, whenever I find myself in Paris, I make a point to return to that spot and tie a red ribbon onto that ring in memory of my friend.

This time I met an obstacle that was insurmountable, and I was distressed by that, but adapted my ritual to the circumstances beyond my control.

The problem is that the Seine was extremely high, and in fact covered the Quai des Orfèvres where I would need to walk to get to my ring. There was current on the Quai, so there was no way I could conceive of venturing forth without risking my own life. I like to think I am smarter, or at least more practical, than that, so I adapted my remembrance for this time.

Back up the stairs to a point from which the ring was visible, if not in my photos, to my eye.

And again, Garry, there is no inappropriate time or manner in which to pay homage to one's friends.

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