Paris Diaries: Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
It was still dark when I dragged my bags down to the front desk. Nikolae was there-wide eyed and nervous. He asked me if I wanted his email address. It amused me that one night stand etiquette is the same there as it is here. Even though it was pretty clear he was relieved I was leaving, he still had to give me his email...for what? Was he trying not to make me feel like some cheap slut sex poodle? Convince me that the reason he was feeling me up in the conference room the other night is because he wanted a deep and meaningful relationship? He was secretly longing for me to IM him about my thoughts on Proust and Zola?

It never ceases to amaze me that after that men believe, deep in their hearts, that a woman can not just use a man and throw him away with no more emotional engagement than one would feel for a particularly satisfying chocolate bar. Did I enjoy the experience? Sure. Would I do it again? Probably. But that doesn't mean that I care and certainly doesn't mean that I have some fantasy about yet ANOTHER intercontinental romance with this twig of a man. I used to fool around with a guy, a very cute cop actually, who was convinced CONVINCED that I was going to fall in love with him. Not only was it insulting, it was patently ridiculous. The one thing I've never been able to do is fall in love with someone that I couldn't have a serious conversation with. The heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants someone to talk to. My body, on the other hand, is far less exacting in its requirements. In fact, often what my body wants is completely at odds with my heart. I've had good lovers who I couldn't wait to usher out the door because the more they talked, the more I wanted to throw a toaster at them. And I knew that the two of us, although physically attracted to each other, had about as much shared understanding as a spider has of a space station. Finally, one night I told him straight out, "Look,I could never, EVER fall in love with you because the truth is I don't really like you that much."

Still if Nikolae felt the need to go through this pantomime of politesse, I wasn't going to completely shoot him down. I mean, the poor little thing could lose his job over me so I took the card with his private email knowing good and well, I would never use it. It would stay where I put it, where it is right now, tucked into my travel journal, another souvenir, a reminder of a lost world, a bit more pleasurable, but less useful than the Mariage Frere teapot.

The cab, luckily enough, arrived a bit early. Nikolae, however, remained bashfully behind the desk as I blew him a kiss dragging my bags behind me. Soon Paris was flying by me, and even sooner I was comfortably ensconced on the plane contemplating my trip. I never have the trip I expect when I go to Paris. I always discover new places, interesting people, some times I even rediscover people, but most importantly I learn about myself and find something about myself worth loving. I never leave Paris feeling like anything other than a hero. Every trip to Paris, the moment I'm on the plane I think about when I will return. There are other cities I should go to: Tivoli, Venic, Florence, St Petersburg, Athens, Cairo, Edinburgh, but somehow Paris pulls me to her, again and again. There are more things I want to see in Paris, places to visit or revisit, adventures to have, and most importantly wine, chocolate, cheese, and pleasures to sample. Not that I have any regrets, but there is always a reason to return.

On the plane, I realized that its not just Paris. It is, as Rasputin said to me all those years ago before my very first trip, if you open yourself to Paris, she will love you. My trips to Paris are mysterious and unexpected, but always exactly what I need, even if I didn't know that I needed it.

On the plane I know that when I land, when I get home, it is time to get serious about writing, and graduate school. Now there are no distractions, no excuses to focus on anything else.

Except going back to Paris.

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