They don’t tell you when you move to Paris, that come the summer, you might as well be living in the Philippines. Today it’s 39°, tomorrow the same. Thursday will be 42°. Imagine that, 42° in a city with absolutely no air circulation, narrow boulevards, six story buildings and no air conditioning. I remember learning that your whole body renews itself every seven years; that there are none of your original cells left. Better still, those cells that once held childhood memories have long since been dispatched. Do those cells still hold those memories now, I ponder, and where are they? I could do with them. And how come I can still hold those memories without the original cells? And does this explain why all women can read my mind? But I digress.
When summer hits Paris and the temperature builds and builds, you start to evaporate. I haven’t seen my new French wife’s daughter for weeks. She was quite small to start with; I think she’s gone. I popped to the bathroom this morning and there was a small puddle on the floor. I said my goodbyes. Your best hope is to run a cold bath and sit in it between May and October, or to leave the country. I’ve tried everything else.
If you walk the boulevards of Paris in July, you frequently see queues that go on for miles and miles, snaking from the Arc de Triomphe all the way up to Sacré Coeur. Justin Bieber must be in town you wrongly surmise. In fact, a rumour circulated that Fnac’s Opera store had the last three remaining electric fans this side of Portugal, and a couple of million people have rushed in the hope of bagging one.
So, if you find yourself in Paris next year, with the sun beating down, tripping over rotting corpses on the metro, and you come across just such a queue, here’s a fun thing to do: shout, “I’ve just been to D’Arty in Madeleine, and they had shit loads of fans in their shop”, and watch as thousands of Parisians evaporate in the stampede. You won’t regret.
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