when i leave the apartment around noon i always notice an older man in the window across the courtyard, standing by the open glass, wearing a white shirt and apron, ironing. i watch him as i walk down the three sets of stairs in our 17th century building, my hand running along the polished wood banister, staring uneasily at the cracks progressing up the side of the wall and the heavy chandelier teetering above me, wondering when it will all give out. the man works in a calming way. long, slow strokes along the material.
when i iron, its always in short, frantic bursts, like i'm trying to work out a stain or scratch an itch.
by some miracle, i've started to adapt to the french contented life. i still get the urge to bust through the crowds of people inching along rue du bac on saturday morning as i'm trying to get to the bakery, or eat my lunch standing over the kitchen sink, but those impulses are rare. in paris, nothing is rushed. life is meant to be lived. that's probably my wide-eyed idealization of the way things are, but i think i'll keep it.
(photos by erin: a saturday game of petanque in the luxembourg gardens)