I woke up at 3 a.m., because my body thinks it's 10 a.m. When I went to the bathroom, I thought I'd flush by pressing the silver push button thing on the top of the toilette, but in my sleepy state didn't find it where I'd grown used to it. When we landed in New York last night, we'd been awake for nearly 24 hours. Jamie was a trooper like I'd never seen, until the very end when he was furious that I'd left a water bottle on the plane and there was no fountain to be found-- or kiosk to purchase a new one--anywhere within a mile of Customs at J.F.K. Where were the Evian vending machines that dotted the platforms of every Metro stop in Paris? Or the 100+ green "Wallace" fountains that rise up from the landscape of Paris parks, medial strips, and sidewalks, that were donated by the English philanthropist Richard Wallace back in 1870-something because so many Parisians were dying of nasty water-borne diseases like Cholera?
I new I'd be extremely sad to leave Paris, and I was, but there was honestly too much packing and cleaning to do to allow myself to wallow. That process wasn't exactly helped my our deciding to ditch Paris on the last two of three blue-skied days for the beach in Normandy. Leaving a foreign city after a beautiful trip used to feel final, somehow. I think my progression of not wallowing too much in the leaving part This Year is a sign of a healthy progression into Next Year thinking. I probably would have benefited from a good cry. Maybe I just haven't had it yet.*
Last year I had to come home in August, leave NYC again, and return once more, to find its edges not too abrasive. This year, my antidote to these rough edges of returning to New York may be to pick up a hearty history of the city, a la Luc Sante, to grease the wheels back home that had gotten me so fired up in Paris. I think I'll shoot my old buddy Richard Snow an email and ask him for a recommendation. For starters, I could pull down from my bookshelves "Here is New York" by E.B. White, a little treatise on my storied hometown that's always described as "elegant" or "succinct". I could also ditch my coffee maker and pick up one of those whistling stovetop espresso makers that I used every morning.
(*Postscript: Good cry nearly happens at our Key Food, where every vegetable is mysteriously wrapped individually in plastic.)