Sunday, February 10, 2008

Star Struck

So apparently I met somebody famous the other night:

Bruce Grobbelaar

Anybody? Anybody? Goalie for Liverpool FC in the 80s-90s? Yeah, I didn't know who he was either. I'm an American for christ's sake. Liverpool has only one association in my mind... the Beatles. But hey, apparently this guy is known for being an arrogant prick. Eh, he was nice enough. His wife was quite chatty and rather friendly.

But heck, I thought I'd throw that out there in case anybody is like "YOU MET BG??!!" He wasn't the "ask for an autograph" type.

Qui non?

Hey everybody, sorry for the inconsistant blog posts recently. I have been busy... blah blah blah. Who isn't busy these days? Well, I have also been spending nearly all of my free time daydreaming. About what, you ask? Good question. Remember how I wrote a few posts before about how I wish I could work on a farm in Mongolia? I've been thinking about it recently and I had a bit of an epiphany:

Why not?

("Qui non?" coincidentally, was the family motto of the Marquis de Lafayette. Coincidence or cosmic connection? I prefer the latter. Also, if I ever got a tatoo, it would be that phrase)

I guess I am realizing that I don't have to do anything! I don't have to have a "real" life right now. Why go for the predictable? I mean, I honestly hate my job. Imagine that! I love being a tour guide, but I hate being involved in the business end of it. Damn you promotions! It takes a certain type of person to do these things, or a certain large sum of money, both of which I lack. I can't do it. I am going to tell my boss that I don't want to go to Spain with the company. I would be miserable, working 70 hours a week, and for what! The money is not there. The experience isn't either. I wouldn't appreciate Spain, because I would be working all the time. No. There has to be something else. I need to keep going, but this is not the way to do it.

As long as I am eating, sleeping, and not spending my parent's money, I can really do anything. So, I think I am going to go for it. I want to head for the hills. Trek through swamps. I want to brush sharp branches out of my face and have them cling for life to my shirt sleeves. I want to cut my knee on a rock. I want to eat things that others would laugh at. I want to be completely unable to communicate with another human being. I don't want to worry about cost management, governmental taxes and registration, or expansion of partner businesses. Come on. F that.

The only thing keeping me in Paris is the people: my friends and the awesome people I work with. But, come April, I'm outta here. It may not be Mongolia... but something like it. All I have to say is: Who's with me?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heal the World

Beloved reader! I feel like it's been so long. At least four days. How are things? Glad to hear. Well, life is still going over here. The monotony of work was finally broken last night with one of those nights that, when you lay down to sleep, you pause a moment, reflect, and say "did that really just happen?" Shall I tell the story? Great, have a seat.

The day started out normally with a tour and various other errands to run before five o'clock. What kept my spirits up was the thought that a buddy from college (Laurence) was in Paris and looking to have a few drinks that night. Fantastic. I meet up with him on the evening tour, we explore Montmartre and the tour ends. When we are walking away for a bite to eat and a nip of grandpa's ol' cough medicine, I ask Mary (another tour guide) if she'd like to come along. Sure! Great. We look around and settle on a cute little place playing Cuban music and serving sandwiches. Great.

We walk inside (me, Laurence, his two cousins [one looked a bit like Natalie Portman...], and Mary, soon to be joined by Ellen) and have a seat at the table near the door. As we enter, a group of about 8 middle aged people sitting in the back all turn around and look at us, seemingly judging us. Nevermind them.

We order up a few liters of wine, a crepe or two, and several sandwiches. After receiving our wine, the waiter brings us over some cheese balls to munch on. For free. That's enough to make a night special (especially in Paris). This place is pretty cool. We get our food (which was delicious) and finish the vino. Throughout the course of the meal, the other group of people are being quite noisy. Like, drunk noisy. Jeez, get some manners.

As we finish, the group calls us over. Apparently Mary had been talking to them after she went to the bathroom and made friends. Ok, let's check this out. We get up and walk over to them. It turns out that there is a ringleader (his name, we find out later, is "Angel") who is about to lead the group in a "Circle of Good Deeds".


We all join hands. Well, joining hands is the wrong image. We link thumbs and forefingers. Next, we all point our free index fingers towards the center, start chanting, and raise the mass of conjoined fingers to the ceiling in a faux-"hands in" cheer. If you think that this sounds weird and out of place in a Cubanish restaurant, you're not alone. I was crapping my pants. I was expecting them to whip out a cauldron of goat's blood for us to bathe in next. Luckily, after the Circle of Good Deeds (it has a catchier name in French...apparently), we made a "Communal Circle" dance. Angel's explanation was thusly: We need to learn how to make friends. We need to learn how to share. We need to learn how to be kind. Therefore, we need to learn how to be happy. And, according to crazy French guy, that means we need to chant and hold hands and move around in a circle in a restaurant with a random group of strangers. Cool. He said that we chant because it takes our minds off of other distractions. We are not thinking, because chanting does not involve much thought. A good idea on paper, but maybe my brain is warped because as we were chanting I couldn't help but think that this is one of the oddest social interactions of my life.

It sounds like I am making this stuff up. Yeah, we are all just friends who went out for a drink. Yeah, we chose a Cuban coffee bar. Yeah, we started blessing the Earth with a group of random adults led by a guru who I feel like I have seen before in a dream (no joke. This guy's face was extremely familiar. I don't know what to make of it). All in a night's work. After buying eachother food and drink (they gave us a salmon/bruschetta dish and we gave them a bottle of wine) they left and invited us to a Mardi Gras party at this famous club down the road.

So, either we stay and call it a night, or continue with the group of crazy people. Is that a choice at all? Bring on the loonies.

We dance the night away in a cool club surrounded by people in costume and horny old men. I could have done without the latter.

Not a bad night. I'm off to slumber. Tour in the morning.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

In Pursuit of Sanity

You might have noticed that I changed the name of my blog from "Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome" to "In Pursuit of Sanity". I chose to change it for a couple of reasons: Firstly, it's more applicable. WBW was a reference to Cabaret (obviously), which I directed during my senior year of college. It was the only thing I could think of at the time. Second, IPoS is just friggin catchy and appropriate. It reflects my ongoing struggle to reach that Holy Grail of mental stability rather nicely.

Have you noticed that you can really track my mental stability via the posts? I think somebody should chart my progression, look at my past posts and graph my up's and down's. Then, you can predict when I will be feeling good (like right now) and feeling pretty bad (a few days ago).

On second thought... that's a scary idea. Please don't do that. I will feel like a robot, lacking any free will, if somebody could predict my emotions.

Anyway! I am off to a cafe as it is a gorgeous Parisian day. Pretty cold, but a bright sun.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I have to admit it's getting better. A little better all the time.

I am successfully drawing the line between work and life. Ahh!! The feeling of liberation is beyond words. I am actually smiling! Who would have thought? Life is not for working! It's for living! It's for enjoying! The hills are alive with the sound of music and flowing wine! Spill libations in honor of Dionysus!

I had the epiphany today. The "breakthrough", if you will. I can't kill myself over work. I am one person, capable of many things, but I have my limits. Putting my eyes out over a missed tour is beyond my limits. Life is about food, drink, rest, enjoyment, sex, and shelter. Work should facilitate the acquisition of those. The gospel according to Matty.