Random Walks

One fallout from my recent decision to ditch the at-home internet (since rescinded, see this Facebook Post I never promised the Internet that I’d stay connected 24/7) was that I re-committed myself to getting outside every day. Yesterday, after taking the recycling to the collection point, I wandered around town and had the following experiences:

1. Passed by Eglise St Martin, went in and lit a candle, meditated a few minutes and thought good thoughts about my son and everyone else I know in the US. Gave alms to a mendicant at the door on my way out.

2. Chatted with Patricia at Pau’s Café about when they expect to re-open (mid-December). They do have internet.

3. Passed by L’Escampette the independent bookstore. Bought a little book of Emily Dickinson and a tiny pamphlet about early cinema (I think) which I found attractive because it was small and you have to cut the tops of the pages, like in olden times, you know, with a penknife.

4. Said Hi to the friendly man at the Catholic Bookstore.

5. Returned via rue Serviez, where there was a Nouveaux Beaujolais Festival in swing in front of the Nikolas Liquor Store. A mixed Béarnais beret-wearing choir singing lusty regional folk songs with accordion accompaniment.

6. Then I noticed the seven geese in the street. Three ganders and four geese. Being herded by five border collies and two shepards in fleece vests. Four donkeys up the street a ways. Must be Christmas in Pau time!

Clearly, getting out every day, even without any reason, is a profitable activity.

Today I went out again, a bit rainy, Sunday, not much open, I would have settled for any warm place to sit down and have a beer. But I did see some brass fish wall hanging art that a friend brought back to his gallery from a recent trip to Italy. About twenty of them in his shop window. One of them may migrate to my apartment next week, so long as I don’t have to take out a loan to buy it.

Walked up to The Red Lion pub (large, British-themed, friendly) to see if they were open. No, and they’re closed for renovations it seems but had a sign with their Facebook Page on it so I’ll keep an eye out.

Heard a commotion from the direction of the Verdun Parking Lot and saw that the County Fair was back for another weekend. I love strolling through that sort of thing, the expressions on people’s faces as they pay to be terrorized, the wide-eyed children, the bored Carnies running the sucker games, the blinking noisy Las Vegas ambiance.

The not very subtle undercurrent of sex and rebellion. Reminds me of the Knox County Fairs I went to as a boy. Once, when I was nine or ten, a carnie cruised me, giving me free rides then chatting about how he wanted to go get a six-pack and retire to his room, said that he imagined that that “sounds pretty good to you, right?” Well, not really. From the shallow depths of my knowledge about people and sex I replied as if I had gathered that he was looking for children and that I would find them for him. Which kind of freaked him out I guess because that conversation ended and there were no more free rides.

Mid-Sixties it was another County Fair where I first did, in fact, have the sex. My fellow hippie and friend who owned The Calico Cat head shop in Galesburg Illinois had a tent at the Fair where I hung out. Got to know some of the Fair People, including the guy who was The Bearded Lady. Interesting how they do that, with mirrors and stuff. It was funny that the barker would invite only women from the audience to touch his leg to prove he was real, and, as a bearded lady, it would not have been proper for a man to do so. He was funny too, introduced me to his ragtag friends, bought me vodka from the package liquor store just outside the town limits.

The sex part I found underwhelming, but that’s just me. We wrote letters for a while, one of my connections to the World outside the Midwest. And this random walk has ended up loosely connecting to the earliest posts of this blog (my over-determined response to the #MeToo movement then in progress).