A surreal Sunday scene: I’m walking down Rue Alexandre Dumas, my familiar street made new when it’s washed in spring’s bright light. I fall behind two young French girls – they couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 – on the corner near Conforama. One has an iPhone pressed to her ear, her blond tresses nearly covering the device. She’s speaking into it seriously, while her friend patiently waits.
When her serious talk is through she hangs up and becomes lighthearted again, and the two friends begin chatting and laughing. By this time, I’ve passed them, my long legs carrying me much faster than theirs.
Then, from behind me, I hear:
“I like the way you work it. No diggity, I got to bag it up, bag it up
I like the way you work it. No diggity, I got to bag it up…”
And the girls are singing along! When Dr. Dre starts rapping, they even keep pace with that, too.
A deep look of confusion has overtaken my face, then my lips spread into a huge grin, even while I’m shaking my head. How in the world do these little French girls 1) know this song twice as old as they are (1996, baby!) 2) keep up with the lyrics (do they have any idea what they’re saying?). I’m surprised and slightly disconcerted, too.
They cross the street and I lose the Blackstreet song and their voices rising to meet it. I continue on my way.
We’ve been basking in a whole string of warm, sunny days. Sun therapy isn’t reliably available in Paris, but my, no better option exists if you can get it. The default belief that the sunshine won’t last (the sky here so much more accustomed to a palate of grays), promises outsized excitement with its appearance. Each day for a couple weeks now, it seems, I wake and look out the window. It’s sunny…again? I simply can’t believe the good fortune. It’s impossible to ever take for granted the sun.
I’ve been making daily trips to a neighborhood park – my destination when I ran into the rapping girls – and I even made a recent trip to my favorite Parisian outpost, Buttes Chaumont. Another flashback to earlier times. It had been so long since I’d seen the Sybil Temple above the lake, and laid on its sloping hills.
I usually stick closer to home, though; I like anywhere I can walk. Yesterday, on my way back from sunbathing, I noticed a shop, its window crowded with colorful clothes and vintage jewelry, shoes and boots. How is it possible to follow the same route over and over and still discover you’ve completely missed something right in front of you?
“Are you open?” I peek my head into the door, already ajar. Sunday, sunny, open store? It did not compute.