mardi, novembre 29, 2005

Rude Health

There have been no new posts for almost two weeks, and I'm as sick as a dog. Dear Wife took me to The American Hospital in Paris this evening, and they promised I'll be up and writing again in no time.

This is my souvenir from London I guess, a nasty nasty flu of some sort where I'm coughing up phlegm that's as sturdy as a superball. It has come on so suddenly and with so much strength, I was afraid I'd been infected with Anthrax or Bird Flu.

The sickness has provided me with my first moment of real home-sickness. Yesterday, after walking and Metro-riding through this cold city trying to complete a half-dozen necessary tasks (like FedEx'ing a birthday present to Mom, postage due, $120 please), I felt like I wanted to die--and not in Paris. I am recovering, now, thank you.

And then there are the stairs. When first we took up residence in the Bonapartment, I made sure to conspicuously hustle up our five flights at every opportunity: nothing but vanity, that. Well, my springy step ain't nowhere to be found now, under the oppression of my malady. Tonight, coming home from the American Hospital, I began our slow ascent moving like an eighty-year-old stooped and shuffling with fibromyalgia. A couple floors up, me panting, Dear Wife trying to assist, we heard someone begin bounding up the stairs from below. The quick cadence was so like the music I used to make. I tried to speed up. The stepping kept getting closer, and soon I was winded and unable to protect my lead. Finally he was right on our tail, his vigorous stomp announcing him with an unconcerned heartiness. The stairs are too narrow for anyone to pass without consent. Dear Wife had already skittered on ahead, perserving her own position. We were near the top, the merry stomper and I, and I was working hard to keep pride intact. But I was too weak. Never had I heard anyone attack the stairs with the same sort of gusto I used to flaunt--and now, I was undone by it. I couldn't keep up, and his insistent foot-falls were demanding I move over. So I did.

And as I did, I thought, "Now I know what they mean by the phrase 'rude health.'"

Our week in London was great because of the friends we visited there. The city itself was surprisingly inhospitable, shockingly cold, and outrageously expensive. Our hotel was just as bad as you'd expect, with $10 calling cards that don't work sold at the front desk, and a $6 fee for two hours of Internet use. Two hours of continuous use, that is, (they somehow forgot to tell us that until after we'd spent a scant 15 minutes online and used the "LOG OUT" button to save our remaining hour-fortyfive, only to learn our time was up when we logged back on the next morning). Fortunately, we soon moved into the lovely home of one of Dear Wife's college roommates, Mary. There her family (husband Kevin and two daughters, Katie and Megan) made us feel very welcome, and it was a real pleasure for me to get to know them. That part of the trip was great.