Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In transit, at the Paris airport: reflecting about croissants after a tall glass of free champagne

It really doesn’t matter if the quality of my croissant this morning was mediocre or sublime (it was the former). Ocean writing was never meant to be a progress report on the improved conditions of croissants as I eat my way through Europe or the States.

On the other hand, behind every croissant there is a story. About chance encounters, about work, pleasure, fulfillment. And so croissants can indeed matter in the same way that madeleines mattered for Proust.

This morning, in Geneva, I paused no more than two minutes over breakfast. A return trip is never any more about time off. My work comes out, to do lists materialize and they are long and they include things like “purchase condo” and “write two lectures” and “grade midterm exams” as well as the more trite details of daily life. All to be accomplished in the next two days. The coming week-end puts me in Wilmington, Delaware and then D.C. I say this as a warning that writing here will suffer (for a couple of days) as I move from one mode of being to another.

A cartoon in last week’s New Yorker depicted a guy standing on the corner, marketing his opinion about every boring thing that happened to him (he was labeled a blogger). And here, on Ocean, a commenter to the skiing post (below) aptly labeled skiers who crash into people on the slopes as having poor skiing skills at the same time that they are holding onto delusions of adequacy. I noted both these, especially when I have before me days when I will write, even though I can’t or shouldn’t. I’m holding tightly to the idea that behind every croissant there is a story, however briefly or inadequately presented here.

Though I have to say, this morning in Geneva, in the hotel across the street from the train station, the croissant was flavorless.

italy march 07 293
breakfast, with station view

At the end of this month I’ll be looking into the matter of improving on the croissant prospects. It will be spring break. I’ll again be closer the places where cows appear happier and butter is sweeter.