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Le Bassin de la Seine

But the Canadian woman was already walking down the incline, determined to continue along the very bank of the Seine.
This is madness, I thought. It’s also dangerous, in every sense.
But they loved it, the Germans and the Canadian. I keep my eyes on my feet, avoiding at least the danger of potholes.
“It’s not dangerous,” claimed one of the Germans. “I jog here everyday. The Tuilleries, that’s dangerous.”
The best moment was the postal boxes for people who live on boats. Address: Bassin de la Seine.

We walked from the Louvre back to the Beaux-Arts. Then we walked along the Seine again. We walked to a bridge. I don’t know. It has tripping stones steps set without warning into a rational pattern all across the bridge.

My colleague stumbled and fell flat, fell face down into the downward incline. She saved her face but maybe not her head, as I could not understand why she refused to admit why she was hurt. She turned to the railing, toward the Eiffel tower, turned her face away so that we could not see her face.

“We’ll take a taxi,” volunteered my husband. “We could take a taxi.”That had been the original plan and I am not sure how we wound up on this stupid freezing walk in the dark.

“The only choice left,” I said, “is whether we take the taxi to the hospital or to the theatre.”

But the Canadian woman was already walking down the incline, determined to continue along the very bank of the Seine.

The color of Paris

My notebook matches my scarf, so this must be Paris.

I look out the window. It’s the exact grey I expected.

I saw a woman with what I thought was nappy black hair, but it was the intricate pattern of a knitted cap.


Opel–socialism on wheels

Today’s Sunday edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung is full of articles about Opel: the car manufacturer that has become the focus of to-bail-or-not-to-bail debates in Germany.

I’ve never seen an Opel in Munich. Okay, we are the home of BMW–Bavarian Motor Works–and we’re also home of some of the richest zip codes in the Federal Republic.

My grandfather drove an Opel in Brooklyn, New York. I don’t even know where he got it. He parked it defiantly in front of the house. It was a political statement, understood by very few people.

Opel is the struggling, straggling tail end of a dream: “Wohlstand fuer alle”–“Economic well-being for everyone.” It’s early twentieth-century socialism on wheels.

It’s the Volkswagen without the Hitler.

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