Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Expat blog.

The tiger lilies are blooming along the garage wall, and the fireflies are few in number now at dusk. August, declining summer, is at hand. Bah. Summer just got here.

John P., whom I knew at Vanderbilt Student Communications and who now lives in suburban Baltimore, writes: "The road to hell is indeed paved with unbought stuffed dogs."

"I did the expatriate thing in Paris for four days once (in the middle of doing the expatriate thing in North Yorkshire for three years, which is a completely different thing. Imagine Emily Bronte with the Internet). A couple of my pals came over, one to cry into his wine glass every ten minutes or so because the mistress he'd dumped his mistress who he'd divorced his second wife for had dumped him [sic, but the phrasing probably reflects the confusion of the situation], the other to argue with his young sophisticated Manhattanite girlfriend a week before they broke up.

"There's something about doing that at a sidewalk cafe in the morning and then walking over to the Musee d'Orsay to look at impressionist paintings in the afternoon that made me very happy. Fortunately Katherine and I had been there two weeks before and took in all the sights. Wonderful town. Paris was made for happy and unhappy lovers both.

"Side note: Spain is wonderful. Especially Barcelona. But also a dozen other places there. Hemingway was no fool."

I did my expat thing in glamorous Osaka. A novel did not result, but I am lazy in that way. There were plenty of opportunities for getting drunk, of course, and for quarreling with lovers. But not in a setting of non-stop cafe society. One time I overheard my Kiwi neighbor's drunk girlfriend let fly an amazingly vile tirade against him, poor sap. She was in the hall outside his door, not far from mine, and I think she didn't realize that anyone in the other apartments understood English, or didn't care. But language was almost beside the point at that point.


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