Sunday, September 28, 2014

Existence is an Act of Rebellion

“My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking.  I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.”  -Sartre

Reynold is an old teaching pal from days of yore.  Very French with his French wit and paunch and protruding facial appendage that would make even Edmond Rostand stand in ovation.
 “If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.”   -Sartre

We are on the roof of his apartment in Montparnasse grilling fish over small red embers with lemongrass and figs...and he is telling me about the wrongs done to his vaulted city.
 “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”  - Rousseau

...And of course, blaming America.
 “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.”  -Rousseau

'Paris is not a romantic city, this is a serious misconception,' he begins.  'There is no romance here.  Romance is not the French way.  We are philosophers.'
 “There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.”  -Montaigne

 He continues in his French way of speaking with fingers cupped together beside spitting lips, 'In school we do not study arts or gymnasium or orchestra... we study rationality and logic.'
 “A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.”    -Montaigne

His lips sputter as he exclaims, 'The buildings and parks and statues of this city were constructed as a rationality not for the romance of lovers to behold.'
 “There is no love of life without despair of life.”  -Camus

'It is you Americans, with your songs of love and your movies of idiot boys and girls dancing in the rain, you have turned Paris into ..." he paused to find the exact phrasing, "an amusement park of the obscene, a carousel of fools ... it is absurd!  Grotesque.  This is not the Paris way."
 “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”  -Camus

I'm laughing now at him, as we turn the fish over and add small flecks of garlic and parsley with our fingers.
 “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”  -Camus

Think all you want about Paris...think until your brain bursts... I'm an American, and Paris will always be about the sweet lure of romance.

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