At midnight I wake up.
At 3:30 AM, I am up again – this time for an hour.
At 5 AM. Again. I tear off pieces of wheat bread I bought yesterday from FranPrix. I wash a bunch of grapes. I eat those, too.
5:30 AM. Energized with food, I unexpectedly fall back asleep.
8:15 AM. I wake up panicked that I am late for my job.
I dress myself better than I dressed myself yesterday (I had forgotten how chic everyone is in Paris. Urban Hobo is definitely not all the rage here). Lanvin men’s button-up. Jenni Kayne skirt recently shortened within an inch of its life. Black tights. Leather motorcycle jacket. Black boots. Giant black coat that I keep open in front so all of my efforts in looking half way presentable do not go unnoticed.
The nearest Starbucks is three blocks away. I go there. This is tre American but they’re the only place I know of that serves soy milk lattes. I get half of my request out in makeshift French.
“Bon jour! Caffe Latte con soja…”
And then I give up because I don’t know how to translate the following:
“With an extra shot.”
They know I’m a faker and call out the order in English, say “Thank you” to me in English when I sign the credit card slip for the amount which they have also read to me in my native tongue. Damn it. I’m trying here, people. Humor me.
With thirty minutes left of me time, I walk back to my hotel room, down my coffee, surf the internet for ten useless minutes, and do my makeup. I tidy up the room a little bit just so the maid isn’t totally overwhelmed by my uncanny ability to ensure all surface areas are covered by clothes and empty water bottles. I bring my passport, iPod, and computer to thwart any potential thievery. I leave.
Today brings the gloom but I welcome it. It smells like snow and even though none falls, I adore it. The clouds have a way of enveloping you further in this Paris bubble, this beautiful place. It’s gray on gray on gray. Clouds on rooftops on people. Monochromatic world.
Work is work. Put on tights, roll hair into a low bun, try on gowns, try on cocktail dresses, try on gowns headed for the Oscars or crazy balls I never am invited to, get my picture taken, turn around, turn around, turn around, smile but not too much. Six o’clock rolls around and I am done and the sun is still above the horizon. The clouds have lightened their stronghold on the sky and the world is yellows and pinks and barren trees, kids with red cheeks and me with frozen hands.
Oh, Paris je t’aime.
See you tomorrow.