Fezzik In Paris

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

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.

Easter is the best holiday.

It’s the best holiday for two reasons: first, despite the cuteness applied to all of the associated animals, it’s a sex-and-fertility party that has been (not particularly effectively, in my view) repurposed as a party for a zombie.

My anthropology professor in college (oh liberal arts electives) hammered into us that the definition of culture is an extra-somatic means of adaptation. Taking it a bit further, culture (and society) are shared, arbitrary delusions; the old ones get papered over, some less successfully than others.

It’s difficult to look at the Easter bit in particular without eventually just muttering “uh huh,” and going back to spiking one’s blood sugar.

The second reason, the most important reason that Easter is the holiday that overshadows all other holidays, is that Easter has the best candy. Halloween has mellowcreme pumpkins, Christmas has candy canes, and saint-Valentin’s day has conversation hearts (netting it a close second place), but Easter has shaped chocolate, almost invariably filled with smaller chocolate in other shapes.

Easter: it’s my jam.

According to the substitute veterinarian, who lavished our resident giant with affection, Fezzik is not simply a fatass whose genetic wheel-of-fortune landed on “bon sang, this one is going to be fucking huge.”

Rather, moose/beef/fat tuna/happy sushi/hey pig/piggles/fromage/pork (Fezzik has an incredible number of nicknames, owing to his eminent nicknamability) is an apparently-pure large variant of the European shorthair cat.

Said vet was shocked to find that we had acquired him in the States. This is currently reducing us into giggle fits as we imagine various European expatriates being sent to the US, going “oh fuck this,” and then abandoning Fezzik at the shelter whence we acquired him.

The fact that there’s a race of smug, beefy cats wandering about brings to mind a mental image of Night of the Lepus, but set in a rural French town that’s being invaded by Fezziks.

Ah la vache.

While in Milan last weekend, I found my thought constantly returning to the historically fractious nature of Italy; there is little doubt that these thoughts were influenced by Barbara W. Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, but I suspect even without having recently finished said book, I would have been thinking of the differing interests of the dukes of Milan as they plotted against those of Florence, and the disconnected interests of the Papal States and the Venetian Republic. Milan looks different (though this is undoubtedly due to the widespread destruction wrought by the bombing campaigns of the second world war) and feels different than the other Italian cities to which we’ve been, and prompted me to wonder how much of the distinctness of each place we’ve been is due to the fact that Italy as we think of it really did not exist until the latter part of the 19th century.

Alternately, this could have been misplaced irritation at my continuing inability to find a suitably Florentine cornetto.