Monday, June 29, 2009

Trois Sourires (Three Smiles)

You know what I'm sick of? I'm sick of listening to people complain. Since I'm visiting Paris just now, I'm particularly sick of listening to people complain about Paris: waah, it's crowded; waah the bathroom's dirty; it's hot; the line is too long, waah waah waah. But it's not just Paris I'm sick of hearing about; it's everything.

The worst part of it is, the person I'm most sick of listening to is ME. Complain complain complain.

So in the interest of shutting up about everything I don't like in the world just now, I thought I'd write about three things I saw in Paris today that made me smile.

First: the Solferino metro sign.

I have a soft spot for all the metro signs in Paris: they're big and blue with nice bold white letters. But the ones I love best are the old ones. They're ceramic tile, and the letters are really big and really blocky. When I see these signs, instead of a soft voice saying "You're now at the Solferino station," I hear a voice like James Earl Jones's booming out, "SOLFERINO." Isn't this sign just so pretty?

Second: some weird art.

I love the Pompidou museum, and I often go to the cafe there. The Pompidou isn't just an art collection; it's a whole complex commitment to public space. There's a huge open area in front outside that anyone can use -- and there are performers and homeless people and little kids and everybody all hanging out there. There's free wireless access for anyone. There's a spacious and low-key cafe. There's even a place to buy stamps and mail letters. It's like a tiny tiny town all in itself.

Anyway, I went today and there was this crazy funny work of art that is a giant gold plant holder. I don't know why I like this so much but I do.

Third: plastic ants in a window display.

This is the window display of a little pharmacy near my house. I don't know what the point of the ants is exactly, except maybe it's to say, Hey Guys!! It's Summertime!

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