I Have a Lot of Feelings, Man

By: epluribusgeenum

Jul 01 2009

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Category: paris

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The moment the airplane lifts off, I get the sense that I’ve been here before.

Here comes that same feeling I get in an elevator, except this feeling is that times a thousand.  I always clutch the sides of my seat or the folds of my skirt.  If it wouldn’t be weird I’d have my white knuckles tight on the stranger’s hand next to me.  For what reason, I have no idea…  I’m not scared of planes or heights and there isn’t even an ounce of anxiety in my body.  In fact I kind of like the way the gravity starts in my head and sinks into my stomach.  Like on the Alien Spaceship ride at carnivals?  That weird thing it does to your equilibrium shakes you up all uneasy-like, but once you harness it and conquer it, it’s fun.  I just like the feel of someone’s hand in yours in instances where you feel incredible.

M83’s Don’t Save Us From the Flames is one of the best and worst songs to listen to at these kinds of moments.  Best because that insane driving energy they have in their music makes you feel like you’re moving forward and you’ve got this chorus of rock angels behind you the whole way (Tiiiiiinnnaaaa! Tiiiiiiinaaa-aa-ah!) .  Worst because those same rushing guitars and the lyrics sound like the FURY OF DEATH.  I always picture a burning car wreck when I listen to this song.  Not a good image to think of when you’re jettisoning into the sky.

But the next thought is always the note I end on: that it’s so special and amazing that planes even exist, that I’m even sitting here thinking that I’m even jettisoning into the sky at all, and how on earth did anyone even figure out how to do that?  And maybe I think too much?

Haha, I do.  Maybe too much, but I’d rather be thinking too much than too little.  Sometimes it’s crazy just to be alive!

Well, cut all the crap, I’ve been here in Paris for two days and I pretty much love it.  This city gives me an interesting challenge: the people here have a very distinct collective personality, something close to the edge of grumpiness but not quite that… just very reserved.  At the CEA orientation session yesterday I learned about something called the French Gaze, and no, it’s not the come hither sexy one.  To me it’s something like you can’t see the brilliance and life in a stranger’s eyes because you aren’t allowed into their world.  The Metro is a prime example of this sort of thing.  But yesterday while I was riding on the Metro I saw a girl, after getting a text message, her face completely lit up from that dark, empty gaze into something that filled me with so much… what?  I don’t know, hope?  Ugh, that sounds so contrived and stupid.  But I wish you could’ve seen it.

Parisians aren’t extroverts.  Americans as a generality — definitely.  Especially Texans.  Think about College Station and what “Howdy” means to people there.  There’s nothing wrong with either, just a difference in lifestyle.  Parisians have these private universes and I think that’s what gives them that sort of “Je ne sais quoi” that no one knows what to call.  I like seeing these knowing smiles that come from nowhere I’ll ever know about, but that’s what’s so great about it.

Anyway.  I feel bright, my head is clear, and there’s rhythm in my step.   I am channeling my inner Parisian and just taking in, taking in, taking in!  Even my roommates I’ve noticed have been acting this way, and I know we just met so I don’t expect crazy bonding off the bat, but it’s definitely something we all feel and like to talk about.  I am a bit of an extrovert in many aspects, but in this way I feel like I fit right in.  I mean I smiled enough smiles to myself to power the production of an episode of Sesame street just looking through this book in a bookstore the other day.

I’m not even smiling in this one.  Go figure

For now I have a bike and a lovely city waiting to be ridden and explored, respectfully (take that as many ways as you want to).

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