When Carol awoke Friday morning, I’d already been up for awhile. A long while. Before her eyes were fully opened, I completed a data dump of my collected thinking during the night. “We should head over to the train station to activate our Eurail passes…reserve our seats for Bordeaux…buy our tickets to Giverny for Saturday…change your money…take the 13 metro to L’orangerie…then walk the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe…then figure out the metro to the Eiffel Tower…walk to Rue Cler for dinner…then go back to the room and bed.” I managed to get all that in before Carol sleepily responded, “I need coffee.” It was unclear if anything I’d said to her had registered. Later, while Carol showered, I spent some quality time fretting whether I’d gotten enough sleep myself to last through the day. Being a travel companion is still very much a work in progress, but I’m learning to slow down and smell whatever it is these flowers are.
I once fell asleep on a Munich bus late at night (probably Oktoberfest had something to do with it). When I woke up, I was the only one on the bus and had no idea where I was. I started walking, and about two hours later, I was turning down my street and heading for home. I don’t know how I found my way, especially with the effects of Oktoberfest still snarling my navigational coordinates. So it is more than a little annoying that on this trip, armed with GPS, Google maps and my own documented capacity for finding my way in the middle of the night, I could not find my way from the train station to the hotel without a lot of gesturing and pointing on the part of the locals, and in one case, humiliatingly forced to take a taxi about eight blocks.
This I thought I could do. Fly to Paris, buy a train ticket to somewhere, anywhere, then get off, find a room, take a walk, have dinner, go to bed, and then get up the next day and do it again. Just for two weeks to start. I thought I could do that. I knew I needed to try. It was a way to get back to how it was.