Fezzik In Paris

Two Americans, three cats, and too many places named "de Gaulle"

In the run-up to the long weekend, whose end I am simultaneously experiencing and mildly mourning, I was busy preoccupied distracted lazy and neglected to post photographic evidence of our encounter with a set of autonomous lawnmowers, which had been set loose on la pelouse de l’avenue de Breteuil, which I found somewhat surprising given that the weekend in question was also the weekend on which les invalides played host to this year’s Paris leg of the Fia Formula-E series.

Sheep, however, apparently do not give a fuck.

The painters sent to repair the damage incurred during the Great Water Leak of August 2015 did not perform as expected; while they were supposed to have isolated the rooms being painted with plastic and tape, they did not. Nor did they move anything whatsoever back into place, clean up after themselves, or refrain from dripping paint on the (original) hardwood floors that we have expended so much effort in caring for.

Thus, having spent the weekend elbows-deep in cleaning the apartment, we moved back in yesterday night, to new hallway carpet (carpet squares laid down and stitched together with the efforts of both the Purrito and yours truly), a new litterbox, freshly waxed floors, and an apartment that felt almost completely clear of cat hair, dust, cat food on the kitchen floor, and litter grains that stick to the bottom of our feet. It was a glorious evening, having returned to our clean house, being able to sit on non-covered furniture, being able to access our bedroom without stepping over a baby gate (it’s a cat-free zone).

The entropic nature of the universe, however, works against us; the cats returned from their hipster haven this morning, and I’m already mourning the return of the litterbox cleaning ritual.

How nice it was while it lasted.

The water leak of nearly three years ago finally caught up with us, so we spent nearly the entirety of what should have been a lazy three day weekend for Victoire 1945 packing the cats up and shuffling the contents of our apartment around so as to make way for the repair work to be conducted on the paint and plaster.

Fezzik and crew, expensive thorns in our side that they are, could not accompany us to the Airbnb in which we’re waiting out the repairs. No, the fuzzy ones now find themselves in a luxurious hipster cat hotel. In a fit of guilt (no, the Purrito and I have not been telling each other how nice it is to have an apartment which stays clean, describing the joy of being able to leave one’s headphones out without finding the cord severed upon one’s return, or reveling in not having to clean the litter box, not at all), we visited them this past weekend; apparently this both assuaged our guilt and emboldened the furry bastards, who are now, as per the hotel’s email reports, acting like they own the place.

We would never have known it from the faces he was making, but even Fezzik missed us.

Maybe.

It would seem that I have internalized our seemingly-perpetual (I think we’re at four weeks) inability to get to Fontainebleu as failure, and in understanding this as a failure, I seem to have completely overlooked that we have, in fact, been getting out; our visit to musée Cognacq-Jay (Marco!) and the musée Picasso (oh god what was I thinking) knocked out two items on The List during the weekend before last, while this past weekend’s jaunts to the palais Galliera and the musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris was an unusual experience.

One of the stranger things about living in a place with a completely different culture (we’ll skip the eye-roll-inducing Texas, it’s a whole different country bullshit) is that one is unmoored with regards to the cultural touchstones; it was thus a bit weird watching some of the older people reverently look at the various Dalida outfits and explanations, while my knowledge was limited to the fact that she had a gaudy tomb in the cimetière du Montparnasse and was not, strictly-speaking, French (Wikipedia has partially corrected this understanding by noting that she was French by marriage).

What possessed us to wander into the modern art museum, I don’t know. Further, my version of “fuck you” when the lady asked if I “wanted to discover” Karel Appel after I said that we’d take two tickets to that exhibit instead of the one that I wanted to see but which would not start for another two weeks) was more of a self-immolation than anything else. Looking at abstract art and knowing that it’s not great abstract art is a new experience for me (I’m still attempting to formulate why his work is not as good as, say, Pollock or Rothko, but I know that it is), but I feel that the excursion was redeemed by watching a video of the man angrily slam paint against a canvas (the contents of a full tube of paint at a time) while declaring that it’s a barbarian world, so he paints like a barbarian.

And because this is turning into an incoherent book-report type post (but then again, when have I ever transcended this level?), we saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 last Friday. The movie was fine, but I find myself disappointed that I really didn’t pick up any noteworthy vocabulary. This is probably for the best, however, as the Purrito and I continue to amuse our French tutor with the otherwise off-the-wall vocab that we picked up by watching The Young Pope, which for some reason I feel compelled to watch again (and perhaps again after that; maybe I could short-circuit this whole thing by tracking down a pair of snazzy red loafers, after which I’ll declare myself pope and preach to fellow schismatics [read: the cats], who will continue to ignore me).

It’s a barbarian world, so I’m going to go find something to do like a barbarian.

Accusations of anthropomorphizing their relationship aside, Vorenus has a friend.

Said friend is a crow that perches atop the church steeple, cawing to Vorenus, who then takes his place on the top of the cat tree and proceeds to chat at said crow. Should several days without an encounter pass, Vorenus will sit on top of the tree and mournfully meow, apparently due to the crow’s absence.

We (humans) have had a recurring conversation in which we posit that the crow can’t possibly be interested in our cat, seeing as how many windows he can see into, and how many other things likely have his attention. The steeple is across the street, and while I’m sure crows have respectable visual acuity, there’s no possible way that a random crow takes up residence on top of the church, caws until our cat comes to the window, caws a bit more, and then flies away, right?

Of course not, that would be madness.

I am not however sure that there is any alternate explanation as to why the(?) crow ran up and down the rail of our balcony, cawing, until Vorenus hopped up on the cat tree.

Quoth I to the raven You scared the shit out of me and the cats.

Were I forced to make an assessment of the past couple of weeks, I would provide a single-word response. “Clusterfuck,” I would say, and then I would complain about how asinine asking me to sum up an arbitrary period of time is, because that’s typically how I respond to being asked to do these things.

Suffice it to say that The List has become more of The Suggestion Box, and unless you’re in HR (and thus paid to lie), you can nod your head in agreement as I note that approximately fuckall has ever been done in response to anything having to do with a suggestion box.

My camera has been largely neglected with the exception of last weekend, when our end of the city (Paris proper normally being a no-fly zone unless it’s something bad or a news chopper following the final stage of the Tour de France) served as the backdrop to a helicopter that will apparently be present in the next Mission: Impossible film (number 6, as per IMDB).

Yay, helicopters.