J’en ai marre 10

Some other points.

Many street beggars in Lyon are young, look fit, and have an obligatory dog with which to generate sympathy. (They do this in the States as well, so I presume these (mostly) young people (and mostly male) googled how to beg for money while looking eminently fit and employable. “Get a dog; make it look a little scruffy.”) It came close at times to making me give in. Aww, poor dog. One young man had a book instead of a dog. He was focused on this slim volume. Addiction to literature is not a terrible excuse for being poor. Still, I passed by, curious, but unwilling to part with the hard earned. (Not that I any longer work for my monthly check. I find it perplexing to receive money that I did not directly work for. I do not complain.)

Remember the underwear that was left on a sidewalk in Milan? As pissed as I was by this incident at the time, I must confess that I wasn’t really thrilled with my purchase. They only vaguely approximated what I really wanted. To wit, I am addicted to Pullin underwear, which sport elaborate art outside, and occasionally inside. I have one pair that has a woman holding a halberd, the staff of which is a long baguette. My diminished junk is nestled against this artwork, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Although no one is likely to see these artworks, knowing they are on my person fills me with quiet joy. Not all works of art, however, are to my taste.

For example, I have never been a fan of old religious artwork portraying suffering sinners, or Dutch/German-looking baby Jesuses. Today at a local museum I discovered I am still not a fan. It inclines my modern mind to mockery.

Francesca reminded me that I’ve said nothing about the Old Lyon and Croix- Rousse neighborhoods that she had us find and wander around in, as she’d found something online indicating that the area was old, and had funky stairways. So, here I am mentioning Old Lyon and Croix-Rousse, as Francesca requested.

Below, my favorite way to hide my male member while out in public, nestled against this perfect piece of underwear art.

I may not have delta covid after all. We’re at this hotel for 4 nights, leaving tomorrow for Paris. Last night I discovered the pillows are feather filled. I am allergic to feathers. This may explain the excessive phlegm production, and coughing up of same. Maybe it’s lung cancer, but I’ve had this cough for 40+ years, so maybe not.

(In the end those pillows led to an illness that would plague me even after our return home. I did not need that aggravation. We had stayed at that boutique hotel 3 or 4 times before, pleased with their morning and evening food offerings. The evening offerings had been greatly cut back, the pillows almost killed me, and, yeah, so we won’t be staying there again.)

On train to Paris, a world in masks. It cannot be denied that travel like this is imperfectly pleasant. Although I don them with only minor protest, I dislike these masks. My right ear has decided its purpose in life is to hear only high pitched sounds. It has very little use for muffled sounds, and simply surrenders entirely when speech emanates from behind both a mask and a sheet of plexiglas.


Rue Cler Paris Perfect (Airbnb) apartment satisfactory. I mean, it has a balcony overlooking Rue Cler and our favorite cafe. Francesca loves this street. And it’s my favorite street in Paris, and if I didn’t feel so wretched, I’d be outside with Francesca right now food shopping. Francesca, however, doesn’t need her wreck of a husband to do what she’s doing. She’s in her element (one of many), and relishing every minute. I taught her how to say “I would like”, and “please”, but the notoriously uppity Parisians have met their match with Francesca. Their barbs and glares are powerless against her bubbly enthusiasm. The tidal wave of her charm overcomes all opposition. And indeed it did; in short order they recognized this effusive American and welcomed her at every street shop she visited.

As to me, maybe I do have covid. I feel marginally better today than yesterday, and last night I perspired buckets, but nothing compared to 2016. I wrote elsewhere about that maladie, and at the time only the knowledge that friends in Portugal and the states were suffering from something with identical symptoms kept me from seeking professional help. Anyway, my right lung tends to get icky if it gets too filled with mucus, as happened in Lyon due to those fuchsia feather pillows. If that’s the case, this may be bacterial instead of viral. Or it may be fuchsia both. Just my luck. I thought the cancer might prevent me from ever returning to Paris, and yet here I am, looking out over the rooftops of the Rive Gauche from our bed. One of those rooftops, by the way, prevents Napoleon’s Tomb from getting wet when it rains. We’ll never see that tomb, in all likelihood, for the prospect of doing so fills us (well, me) with ennui, at best.

Oh, I was talking about this apartment. Small. Filled with anal reminders (well, one) that if we break stuff, they’ll be requiring our life savings in recompense. 1500€ if the mechanical toilet gets busted due to trying to flush anything not on the allowed list: poop; pee; their toilet paper. Every time I go, fear of this fragile mechanism makes me shit bricks, which, of course, is counterproductive. Perhaps I am too imperfect for Paris Perfect. But they have been very helpful, and they can’t be faulted on that account. And it’s comfortable, has a washing machine, dishwasher, and functioning stove. (I was probably only griping because I felt sick.)

Something more needs to be said about that toilet. I’ve encountered many bizarre European devices with which one can rid oneself of one’s bodily waste. Some examples I’ve mentioned in the past: the bombs away porcelain hole in the ground; the platform toilet with which one can inspect one’s output afterward, but which prevents pooping entirely – while seated – if one’s poop is in any way majestically long and hearty, reaching the platform before leaving the body; the unenclosed urinal on the way to the lady’s room beneath a French restaurant; the French cafe toilet I got locked in, leading to much hilarity; and the urinal in an Italian park that consists of a 3.37 foot high porcelain plinth with a drain at the base on one side, completely open and unenclosed in the midst of families cavorting in the middle distance. (Note: at the time I was far too shy to use the thing, though I very much needed to. Yet now, testicles gone, sexuality reduced to “none of the above”, I find my bladder is nowhere near as shy as it once was. Fascinating. That plinth would not phase me anymore.)

But in all my years overseas I’d never encountered a “mechanical toilet”. Instead of a handle, one needs to press a button to flush. Flushing does not occur instantaneously, but requires some revving up of an unseen mechanism, and then a terrifying sucking sound pulling everything down that was in the water, but having very little, if any, effect on bits that may have got stuck on the walls higher up. Annoying, but not the biggest problem.

You know the old saying: “yellow is mellow, brown is down”. That is, if you’re at all interested in conserving water, and all you have to do is piss, well you could forego flushing entirely. You could do this repeatedly – I am not advising this – and the worst that would happen would be … well, use your imagination. One thing that wouldn’t happen, in a conventional toilet, is the fluid level in the basin changing. This is achieved by magic, of course, but the mechanical toilet, in eschewing magic for technology, is less forgiving. Empty your bladder in the thing, and the level in the basin rises by that much. So, imagine, if you will (and you probably won’t), what happens if you do this repeatedly without flushing. The mind boggles. Flushing very quickly becomes mandatory, brown or not.

Below is Francesca on Rue Cler with baguette and other comestibles. She is very happy there. By the way, vehicles rarely drive on this part of the rue, but mostly delivery vehicles. It is very pedestrian friendly.

2nd full day in Paris. On the first day I stayed in bed 80% of the time. Whatever I picked up in Lyon is knocking me for a loop. In addition to feeling wretched, I am also feeling guilty for diminishing Francesca’s Paris vacation. On the bright side, this apartment has a balcony overlooking Rue Cler, our favorite street in the world. It’s a culinary theme park, as it were, and Francesca absolutely loves taking the wheeled shopping thingy and roving from store to store – much of their wares set out on this mostly pedestrian street on wooden stands – collecting comestibles for our meals, and interacting with the vendors in that way of hers against which Parisian hauteur is not remotely proof. (Actually, I’d be hard pressed to choose between Rue Cler and that street in Milan with the truffle restaurant, and my favorite shop in the world.)

One of her missions will be to get a juice she’ll be pleased with, my two choices having fallen short. And she found it utterly inexplicable that the French would make raisin juice. I see her point, but she was mollified when I explained that raisin is French for grape. Still, she prefers her grape juice from vineyards, with a vintage, and all that high falutin’ sommelier rating stuff.