Friday, July 9, 2010

"Shufflin'" on a summer afternoon

Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me..
And I'm feeling good

Those were the words that my iPod "chose" for me on a recent weekday afternoon as I set out for a stroll in the urban park. It was Muse's slinky version of the old classic. How did Apple's shuffle feature know that it was a perfect blue sky day and the sun was warming my arms to just the right temperature?

I was killing time during the two hours between my lessons in the client's company. It would have been silly to drive back to the center anyway. So I ate my puny sack lunch in the park and then wanted to explore the neighborhood a bit. For two years I've been driving to this place and just admiring the old brick bourgeois houses from my car.

I picked a good day to do it. Kaolin's Partons Vite came on and the happy-go-lucky "la la la" went well with my light gait. The park had a few visitors, a young teen biking and talking on his cell phone, a mom and her two young girls. But the city was already quieter than normal.

We're in the summer vacation period in France where at any given moment it seems like a third of the people are off. With five weeks per year (or eight (!) if you work at a company that has compensation time and a good union to negotiate for you), most French folks take two to three weeks in the summer. Which makes for a much more pleasant drive to work and a quicker visit to the supermarket for those of us who are "left behind". Personally it makes me already feel like I'm off to have less people around.

So it now was the juilletistes' turn to go to the beach or wherever. Yes, les vacances are so sacrées here that there are even specific names for those who take their vacation in July (juilletiste) or August (aoûtiste).

As for my own vacation, I'm half juilletiste, half aoûtiste. Taking next week as there will be so few classes. And one week in August since my company closes anyway. Not sure if I'll really get away anywhere next week though as Remi keeps saying something about needing to borrow a neighbor's tractor to clean up a field for the chyrsanthemums. But I'm determined to do something vacation-like.

I continued my walk up the boulevards and started feeling thirsty. But wasn't that my plan all along? To eat my meager lunch then splurge on a soda? Outkast's Hey Ya accompanied me. I looked for a café or bakery but there were only two gas stations, one across from the other. BP was out 'cause I don't think I need to give those guys any more money considering what they're doing to my gulf coast. So I paid more than I should have for a white chocolate Lion bar (think very crunchy nougaty with white chocolate coating, a bit too hard for my taste) and started my walk back to the company. So in the end my love for chocolate won over my thirst.

As I still had time to kill (two hours is long, people), I sat down on a park bench again and did a little people-watching. Then I mosied on back to the company for my afternoon lesson, rested by my mini-vacation within my work day. All in all a pretty pleasant way to spend a few hours.


Jessamyn said...

Sounds like a lovely mini-vacation-in-a-workday! It's nice to have unexpected free time where you can't go home but have a park to walk in. And you had lovely music to keep you company. I hope a small "real" vacation this coming week can happen for you. Miss you!

Chad said...

I really do love Muse's version of that song.