2010-05-31
Paris Peasant*
My friends,
I realize that it is too long, that I got carried away writing this,
as if I didn’t really care if anybody would read this.
But what could I do, I had to explain it to you in detail,
Besides, it was written by hand
and that should also be taken into account.

I made it complicated by my sloppiness,
got it tangled,
and somewhat embellished
- an ordinary tourist trip.

Paris!!!
We are all cheering; it has been a while we went somewhere, and to Dren (11 month old boy)
this is the first journey to the far …nice.
The fist mistake, the all further complications track back to, is this:
I search online for cheep flights,
everything seems kind of pricy to me… I hit the keys on my keyboard randomly
and, by mistake, I buy one-way tickets.
There is panic at our home. We ask our friend Vlada, the world trotter, for help,
and than he finds cheep flight to Sofia for us.
In Sofia, we meet friends and with lightsome heart, excited, we fly to Paris.

Paris!!!

How many kinds of people, characters, faces and national costumes are there!
How appealing, when beautiful, the African women are!!
How genteel the French misses are!!!
Their dresses flattering while gliding by on their bicycles
And after that, for some while, you can still feel their fragrance and their perfume…make you run after them, complete, with the stroller and the baby inside!
But this is a family trip and our Paris is Paris
of parks and sidewalks, of streets by day and afternoon,
not Paris of bistros and drunken nights,
not even Paris of museums and the art, no.
Parisian parks are voluptious and green, without pappies and their dung:
Feel free to lie down,
drink up a glass, a bottle of wine, have a bite, observe beautiful people
on the grass around you.
Crowl on all fours with your son, swiftly taking away pebbles, cigaret butts, bottle corks
muddy twig....chewables
which are elegantly brought to the mouth... watch out!
Quarel with Marija over stupidities, make up quickly and enjoy the family idyll.
Kiss, keeping a watchfull eye on Dren.
Paris is charming, big and expensive city:
Marija was first to see a woman who draw smoke by smoke of cigarette with every bite of a baguette bread
and, also, a girl in the dress, without a bra, who got up to play badminton.

She drew my attention to the young african girls' hair wich once used to be curly and now is forcefuly smooth,
and to the man who glanced at me with his glass eye while using alchohol to wipe a grafitee
which was scribbled allover his white truck.
Every so often I came across clothe items tossed on a side of the street
as if they were doormats on which you were supposed to wipe your shoes
before stepping onto the sidewalk.
At the Mc Donald’s washroom door there were buttons with the entire Cyrillic alphabet (az, buki, vjedi…) and with the numbers
as if that was a safe which opens only by the account code to let you pee and turn on cold and hot water.

Boulangeries, crepes stores, tasty and spicy fallafel, which Dren opend his mouth to bite at.
Cooked gummy vietnameese sweets, ball shaped, sprinkled with sesame.
It crams all your mouth and, by its density, slows down your chewing and your breathing....an exotic sweet that appiled only to me.
Glass phone booths, in which emigrants play their little dramas in various languages.
I wish I could install little hidden microphones to record all that stories and to save them for the radio’s doom days.
But let’s go back to our expenses, our account, or should we say the damage we, as a family, did as guests:
Our naive friends landed us their apartment leaving to St. Petersburg.
At the very beginning Marija dropped the coffee machine cord onto the hot element of the stove and it melted.
Dren tore the poster of Woody Allen hung up on the wall.
I jumped carelessly onto the bed and got the wooden plank of the bed frame broken.
And lastly, Marija ripped off the shower rubber hose.
And that is not all: we couldn’t resist not to rummage through the hosts’ wardrobes.
It is so irresistible to wear other people's clothes.
It was not me who wore Jasmina’s dresses. I wore only Armelo’s shirts and T-shirts, but anyway
Dren stained them kissing them with his lips smudged with food.
You have to be prepared and count on such things if you happen to call us to be your gests.
We wanted at least to make it up to them so we did the laundry
but it was Marija (not me!) who put Armelo's wool swetter into the washing machine at 60'C and it shrank,
we ruined it completely.

We glue and retouch the Woody Allen poster, stack the books under the bed,
apologize, leave the presents and scurry home.
At the airport we face further unpleasant surprises – second act of the opera:
Zipper of our suitcase, made in China, gets broken; it opens up and is stuck.
I am trying to fix it, but I make it even worse, the suitcase is now completely open and zipper won’t move!
Marija tells me I am an idiot, Dren starts screaming so I am tossing him into the air to calm him down…
Marija, by some miracle, manages to close the suitcase,
we go to check in the last moment and only then do I learn that I need Bulgarian visa for this trip and that I cannot take the flight!
Marija says out loud that I am an idiot.
Dren laughs, carefree, because he knows there are worse things in life.
We kiss and repack our luggage hastily.
Confused, I am giving Marija my clean underwear, and hers remains with me.
They are passing the x-ray with their golden Slovenian passports, and I can hear Dren screaming while they walk to catch the airplane to Sofia, all by themselves.
My airplane ticket was wasted. I return to Paris. It is raining, first time after seven days.
I still have a little money. I need to catch the first bus to Serbia and to meet with my family in Nis for a wedding.
I decide not to go the same day, as I would like to see Paris for a tiny bit more, alone.
I sleep at my friend’s, Sara, pretty Sara, whose boyfriend works on his doctor’s dissertation that has already reached 500 pages! The floor is covered with the books about the law, like in a recycling paper depot. He takes seriously, very seriously this scientific project.
In comparison to his work my doctor’s dissertation seems to me like retold stale jokes.
Paris looks sad when raining and without my family.
It is odd how much I looked forward to this kind of freedom, but now…
I call bus company Eurolines the next day and they tell me that there is no available spot.
Sara finds me a spot with the domestic transporter gastarbeiter, Micko, from Lapovo, for the afternoon
The day is sunny and I am not sad anymore.
I wander through immigrant neighborhoods, forgetful, and only later do I realize what the time is.
I rush to pick up my stuff and to catch the bus, I am running with my backpack on, sweating.
I am only 5 or 6 minutes late and Micko is gone.
“Merd! The bus is gone, merd, gone!”
His secretary tels me over the phone, in southern Serbian accent.
I am mad at myself; I AM an idiot, uberidiot!
I should have been home long time ago.
I am tired, sweaty, with no clean clothes.
I am wearing Maria’s underwear.
On my way I lost the money from my right pocket somewhere.
Sara and Jasmina are tired of me already.
My next transportation is couple days away.
I can already smell blue cheese from my back pack, which I bought for my parents,
I am devastated…
But, then, if I had a chance to wander Paris street like this alone..
I will earn the spent and lost money again.
I will sleep over at Marion’s.
I took a bath and shaved, I even got a bicycle!
I ate a crape with nuttela, rode to Eiffel tower and along the little streets
I even visited a few museums using the fake press pass.
I know what I am to expect when I get home but for now I am enjoying myself.
I bought a picture book to Dren and a colorful African fabric to my sister.
Before departure I went to cemetery Pier Lashez and there,
At the Georges Melies’ grave, I gave a friendly hug to his smiling monument
I talked to him and said good buy,
like to a father.
Milos Tomic
Paris, Belgrade, May 31, 2010

*"Paris Peasant" is the famous novel of Surrealism writer Louis Aragon, well-known by its detailed description of the Chemin park, park I visited a few times during my journey and I can tell you that….