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capital | modernity

I often walked around Paris by myself as my mother who sometimes travelled with me, emerged slowly from her self-imposed isolation, such was the culture shock.

We stayed near La Tour Montparnasse which the French hate and with good cause. Guy de Maupassant's aphoristic slur about the Eiffel Tower was once again applied to La Tour Montparnasse from whose windows the best view of Paris could be observed, as the building itself did not blot the skyline.

There was a market at the weekends which bookended our stay, and a baby who screamed from a window one floor up, in the hinterhof-like courtyard around which our apartments were arranged.

In the Marais the hirsute, homosexual Parisians were arranged in cloistered enclaves like monks, from groups which it is assumed one emerges from a fast, drunk and guided by a vow of celibacy which appeared as a moral hazard, then orgiastic hedonism.

I assumed this from their demeanor but, in retrospect, it probably looked better from the outside.

I navigated the Metro expertly only getting lost twice in one evening. It was the kind of dislocation where no one is waiting for you at the other end and every dot on the map could be a trivial distraction, or a stab in the heart.

I asked to board the observation wheel at the Louvre and was greeted with a Gallic shrug, and two uncomfortable girls to take the journey with me. I was perfectly comfortable though it is regrettable to say.

I walked past the Eiffel Tower at 3am and shed a tear as they performed for me the pulsating light show as the spotlight overhead swished, tilted, at an angle. I had a Bloody Mary and pancakes on the Seine shortly afterward, on which occasion an American backpacker spilled the drink in a moment of gesticulatory affray.

The brasserie replaced it.

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