Paris Diaries: Jet Lag
Every time I have returned from Paris, the first thing I do is have a decadent lunch or dinner with Bakerina where I spill the juiciest details and try to persuade her to finally come to Paris with me. Part of the reason I do this is the minute I return to the US, I am filled with sadness. I turn on my phone hoping that a thousand people have called me, and inevitably it's two messages, if any at all. I get home only to discover that the apartment is far worse than I imagined. This time it was worse than usual. I could smell the pot from the minute I opened the front door of my building. As I struggled with my keys, one of my more friendly neighbors remarked on the pot smell coming from my apartment. Totally flushed I explained to him that I was actually returning home after a prolonged vacation. I told him that my cat sitter, the Doberman, had apparently been using my apartment as an opium den. The neighbor laughed and said most of the time he was tempted to knock on the door and ask if he could have some. I laughed along with him, but inside I was trying not to choke to death from shear anxiety and silence my urge to beat the Doberman to death with a bong. The apartment was filled with stale pot smoke, which the Doberman had done nothing to mitigate. Also while he claimed he was going to clean the floor, it was clear that he hadn't. The litter box hadn't been emptied, and there were a few unfortunate things I had left in the refrigerator that hasn't survived as long as i hoped. I checked my email hoping that there was some message there that would hint that I was missed, that I was important to someone. But instead of hope, I found myself overwhelmed with spam. I checked my calendar and realized that very soon I would have to return to teaching, trudging up hills and stairs hauling pounds of papers to return to my apathetic students most of whom don't have the good sense or ambition to piss on a small fire. To save myself from utter post vacation depression, I find that dining with Bakerina, who is willing to while away an afternoon listening to me babble about Paris, is the perfect cure.

I met her Firenze, one of our usual post-Paris debriefing locations. After two weeks of French food, when I return to NY I long for something else-Italian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, anything but French. To celebrate my return we usual pick some place decadent and Firenze, which hit upon one day by accident, quickly became our go to post Paris debriefing locale. Even though it was winter, I was under dressed in some of my lighter Paris fashions, much to the delight of the Russian waiters. I chatted with her about Nikolae, the break up with the Sauvage, my grand escape, tea at Laduree and Mariage Frere, meeting Marco again on Sacre Coeur, the fresh air markets, the idiocy of museum goers. Talking to Bakerina, seeing her angagement in the stories, I began to feel again the joy and rush of Paris. I couldn't wait to begin writing the Paris Diaries again, even though I still wasn't done with Frehel. I knew, again, that I had to dedicate myself to finishing this writing project.

While in the midst of this grand revery, the Doberman crashed into our lunch. By this time, I was happily drunk. First the Doberman asserted that he that he has "cleaned alot." Thinking about the condition of the apartment, I can't think of one thing he did. He didn't vacuum or wash the dishes. He didn't even have the sense to spray some lysol to disguise the pot smell. I yelled at him about how overwhelming the apartment smelled. In typical Doberman fashion, it hadn't even occured to him that this was a problem. Beyond that he was clearly stressed out and out of sorts, apparently about his jobless condition. And looking at these two friends, one so supportive and the other, as a poet would say, supportive in his own particular fashion, I felt again an overwhelming sadness at returning to this life-my smoky stale apartment, needed a good cleaning, my pot headed friend who couldn't find a job, my imminent return to a job that I don't really believe in. I knew there was much work ahead and I drank enough to send me to bed-so that I could quickly adjust to my time zone. The Doberman tried to curb my drinking, but Bakerian knew that at a time like this a girl needs to get a bit tipsy. Strangely going to Paris, I adjust quickly to my new time zone, returning some times take as long as 10 days, as if I am trying to hold onto my life there as long as possible, my mind living there while my body is, most unfortunately, here.

I went home to my smoky apartment and fell asleep. My cat, ever supportive, was so excited I was home that she curled up next to my head purring loudly and licking my face. If only my friends did that, I thought as I drifted to sleep, I would be happier to be home.

(** Author's Note: Tomorrow will be the conclusion of the Paris Diaries, just in time for the first day of classes.)

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