Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's my birthday

The Orange

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange-
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave-
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It's new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist.

Wendy Cope

I'm 23 today. It's kind of odd, being 23. I'm starting to not feel like a teenager anymore, which is good, I didn't enjoy adolescence. But I don't think I'll ever be a Grown-Up. But I can't really see myself as an Adult. But I guess I am now.

Spent some time in the jardin by my place this morning. It's where I go to meditate and be a tree hugging hippie. Then I went to the bookstore, La Maison de la presse, and spent my parents' money, because the French government hasn't paid me yet. I bought myself a fountain pen and some stationary to write proper letters to people. I always wanted a fountain pen. Everybody uses them here, even kids, which is strange to me. A fountain pen to me means elegance and refinement; a fountain pen is for writing poetry and love letters, not scribbling verb conjugations in your 50 cent notebook.

I also capitulated, finally, and bought The DaVinci Code. I give up. You win, Dan Brown. Uncle!

I stretched out Jigs and Reels as much as possible; and the pages of Life Mask have been rapidly dwindling. I finished it with great reluctance and satisfaction on Monday. Life Mask is a book that you cannot simply sip at, like the heroines do their tea. It's Emma Donoghue, her lovely prose and elegant structure have you swallowing it in gulps before you realize it. And shipping books here is prohibitively expensive, which leaves me, all alone in France, with no books, no magazines, nothing but the International Herald Tribune.

So what choice do I have, really. I must have books, English language books. I am reading in French, but it's fucking hard work. This is non-negotiable. I'm a junkie who needs her fix. Da Vinci Code it is, then.

Up till now I've refused to read it on principle; that principle being sheer intellectual snobbery. I have a spiteful streak in me that will dismiss out of hand anything annoyingly popular. It gets me into trouble sometimes; I almost missed out on Harry Potter that way. But the Da Vinci Code? No f-ing way, if only because all my classmates last summer spent our five days in Paris pointing at things and saying "That's in the Da Vinci Code!" But I will admit to being intrigued by the premise. I just thought I'd wait for the movie; guess not! You better deliver the goods, Dan Brown.

I also bought David Lodge's Author, Author, about Henry James' failed attempt at playwriting, to assuage my concience. Then I went home, had lunch, and ate a whole box of chocolate mousse Pims. And tonight me and the other language assistants (who I will tell you about, honestly, it's all written out and everything) will go out for a drink. It's a good birthday; the best one I've had in a very long time. I barely remember my 22nd, last year was the Semester from Hell so I probably spent it obsessing over a paper for TeacherCrush (sigh. I still carry a torch for that woman). My 21st birthday was nice enough, except I had just come out to myself the week before so I was too preoccupied with my quarter-life crisis. And adolescence was mostly a vague blur of unhappiness. Nothing beats my 9th birthday, though. You'd be hard pressed to top a dozen third graders buzzed on cake and soda doing the hokey-pokey at the rollerskating rink. Now that's a good time.


At 11:52 AM, Blogger Katie (Kinney) Stegeman said...

Bonne anniversaire a vous
cha cha cha
Bonne anniversaire a vous
cha cha cha
Bonne anniversaire ma cher

Bonne anniversaire a vous
cha cha cha

Four years of French, and that's all I've got in me!
Happy birthday Annie Bananie!

At 2:45 PM, Blogger JaneFan said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Glad to hear it's a good one. If you're anything like me, you'll continue thinking of yourself as 23 or so for at least a couple years. BTW, 9-year-old rollerskating birthdays ARE the best! That's what I did for mine too, LOL! Enjoy France!

At 6:56 AM, Blogger Winter said...

Happy Birthday.

You've been tagged

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

Happy B-day!

You might try finding English books on Amazon sites. The UK site is in British Pounds, and that's no good, but the German site has some English books, and the shipping might be OK. And of course there's the French site, but I'm pessimistic.

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Amanda said...

Happy Birthday Anne! :-)

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous roro said...

What a great poem. Happy Birthday! I hope the new fountain pen brings you years of scratchy happiness.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger TP said...

Belated happy birthday!
I used to write with a great fountain pen. I found it somewhere, and had lost the lid so used a blue bic lid.

It was a white papermate, and it wrote like a dream. I lost it on a geography 'field trip' to my local miniature shopping rink.


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