Monsters then I were sent to find. At first I thought of looking for a poster, a post card or any cut out with the green and blue characters from Monsters, Inc. Perhaps pull an Amelie and take a picture with the Eiffel tower behind. It has been almost a week since I arrived to Paris and every day I take a walk back and forth the same streets, all by myself after finishing work. The sun sets quite late this time of the year here, so I get to enjoy the nice weather and sunny evenings for a little longer.
No signs of monsters though. They are not easy to find. Streets are crowded with multinational visitors as well as multi-layered locals, all somehow captivated by the city, the shops, the scents and the looks – brasseries, pubs, cafes all full. Trendy cigar smoking Parisians sporting their snobby pouts and tiny glasses of wine. Ultra skinny model-like youngsters, filling up ashtrays with yellow cigarette butts, drinking funny looking spirits, speaking rapidly but no food on their plates.
If you don’t ask they just don’t care if you are standing there politely, waiting patiently for a table to be assigned. Finally they push you to a confined place as if being one plus NONE is some kind of defect. For everything else I am so self assured, why is it then that I feel so intimidated by these arrogant Parisians looking down at you? Why do I feel so exposed eating alone in this city? I’ve done bigger things all by myself, much daring than ordering an entrée.
There and then I realized that my search was over… I’d found the monsters all around me – the ones with sharp brown teeth and smelly breath, others with no eyes (or pretending not to see), many with big mouths laughing and chatting in French, laughing at me.
But the worst of the creatures, the scariest and meanest, is the monster inside me. The one that makes me feel small and uncomfortable in my own skin.
The day after, I decided to face the damned creature to tell it straight: stop it! I am in PARIS! It is NOT sad and I am NOT a looser for going out solo…
…so, I am writing this thoughts with my glass of champagne, front row table, spreading butter on my bread at the Louvre Brasserie*, pushing down my inner monster, the sabotage master, cruel judgmental, overwhelming and intimidating evil being…and you know what? It does feel rather great.
To my dear wise Mia...one day you will come along to one of my trips, but as always, you are here with me.