30 November 2009


Today the Cold really did arrive. The gentle mountain to the east wore a small, white sailor cap.

And The Swiss!

News came over the alps today about the Swiss who have voted to ban1 the construction of any new minarets, which I guess means the ban of any new mosques as well. They voted with a clear majority2 which really shocked everyone all over Europe. Being from America, its hard to understand this. A civilized country (the bedrock of old Europe for god's sake!) can it be so ass backwards? But, alas, they have spoken and at least we know what they think. They did not pussy foot about like others we all can think of: they are crystal clear. They are against Muslims.

On the other hand, an old and very dear friend called me from California this afternoon. We eventually got around to Politics as we usually do after comparing our various age-induced problems. (Fortunately there aren't many). He was saying that he is completely fed up4 with the United States Government and both houses of Congress! He is a good businessman, self-made, who runs his factory with a high ethical standard. In a nutshell, he is angry5 that the Government has bailed out the banks and is screwing the people. In summary6, he added that from now, on he would only worry about his "own"; meaning his immediate family, his employees and his friends.

I understood his logic but worry that if everyone felt this way, we would all be catapulted backwards in time by many centuries,,,, back in fact, to Switzerland!

1 banir
la majorité absolue
3 droits accompli
4 ras-le-bol 
5 fâcher
en résumé 

29 November 2009


The weather is turning, she arrives at last, this winter. Except for the oaks, trees everywhere are naked without shame. The night air is cold, a new moon glistens through the bare branches. 

Standing outside on the terrace, the faint perfume of my neighbor's chimney anchors me to my home. Its a good thing too, because in my mind, I am always leaving. Inside of me there is anxiousness which seems insatiable. So thus, I cling to the trees in every season with all my might. Without my senses I would be elsewhere, floating away, being everywhere and nowhere all at once. Being like  perfume, I suppose.

28 November 2009


Philip Guston loved Uccello as I do. It brought me closer to Guston when I learned this fact. The Battle of Romano is one of the reasons I like going to London. It has fascinated me since I was a child. Apparently it has a hold over many. A guardian at the National Gallery told me once that people of all sorts come to sit for an hour at a time in front it.

This Guston also fascinates me. It possesses, in its most strange way, the same love for a pictorial unity as Uccello, the same delicate use of bright color. I only wish I had a better version of the Uccello. In the original its "floor" is an insane pink which hardly shows here.

27 November 2009

shoot the pianist!

Tonight on the news: an interview with Charles Aznavour on Antenne 2. Always had soft spot for him since seeing Truffaut's Shoot the Pianist (Tirez sur le pianiste). One of Truffaut's really great films for which I think he even wrote the piano melody as he did for The Four Hundred Blows (Les Quatre Cent Coups).

What enamored me to Azanavour last night was his energy and optimism. Forget that he is 85 and looks 70. I found myself doing the math, wondering quietly to myself what I could get done in the next 30 years.... could I arrive at his age with  any of his energy and love for life? 

Bravo Charles Asnavour!

26 November 2009


When I play petanque well, its always a bad sign as it means that I haven't been spending enough time in my studio. Fortunately for my work, I hardly play at all anymore. This footage is from the summer 2008.

I discovered boules within my first month of arriving in France back in the early 70's as student. I had met some people in the flea market in Aix and was subsequently (par la suite) invited to a sunday lunch where boules was played in the afternoon. I learned two things in those days: One was boules, (better known as Pétanque for the southern half of the country) the other; the amazing generosity (générosité) of the people here. Eventually, most of my sundays for the rest of that year were spent at various (divers) homes where I was exposed to the art of french hospitality. As Hemingway once said about Paris in the thirties; it was indeed a moveable feast. Each sunday lunch was at a different home. I was given a great gift, and not unlike a set of boules in the back of the car, it is something which I have since taken with me everywhere I go. How could I have not learned the deceptively simple art of preparing a meal, however modest, and inviting someone in to share it? It sounds so banal, and yet, it was always the glaring social grace which had eluded my upbringing (mon éducation).

25 November 2009


Rolland delivers a box of organically grown (biologique) vegetables each tuesday to my door. Pretty good when you think about it. Some people say he's too expensive (trop cher) but I'm not sure when one factors in the time and expense of traveling to shop. Actually his biggest critic is his ex-girlfriend (!) so these observations it should be taken with a grain of salt. 

The news is wild tonight with the decision by Obama to attend the conference on global warming in Denmark next week. Tonight, on Yann Arthus-Bertrand's "VU DU CIEL" a long documentary about the eventual demise of our oil resources which was a bit depressing, if not alarming, what can one do? Many things of course (bien sûr), but do we do them? 

There were some wonderful moments nonetheless (néanmoins), a few great characters with even greater ideas for solutions.
-An American who installs electric panels (panneaux solaire) in tiny communes in Africa in order that they can water gardens and have small lights in their homes and schools. His name is Robert Freling.
-Another American who travels everywhere in his bus which runs (qui marche) on diesel fuel made from used cooking oil. His name is Josh Tickell.
-French designer Philippe Stark who expounded upon the beauty of plastic.
-Al Gore, just for his presence I think.

Ces Sacrée Americains!

Meanwhile, in my studio I try to simply focus on my paintings which is already hard enough.

24 November 2009

Henri's appendage

Henri's hand is what everyone is talking about here in France, as well as perhaps all over the world. The famous "hand of god" which assured France's place in the world cup. I confess that I didn't watch the match but I saw the infamous replay a zillion times on the television. It always makes one wonder just how one would react in the same situation. Would I have turned around and said to the line referee (l'arbitre) that I had just used my left hand to pass the ball?
Henri is a professional and called it like he did. He's probably an honest guy, and knows better but he made a bad decision, one for which he will be remembered, for the rest of his days. Helas! (think Zidane)

Ah, la main!

"En moins d'un tour de main, cela s'accomplissait"
La Fontaine
(in less than the turn of a hand, it was accomplished)

This hand business brings to mind a documentary which I saw a few years ago. It was devoted to Anish Kapoor and his immense project (projet) in Belgium at the (Grand-Hornu). For some odd, but wonderful reason, Belgians (Les Belges) go bananas for Contemporary Art.

In this film, he basically says that "the hand of the artist is overrated in this day and age. Its a romantic notion which is outdated, that nowadays, Art is made solely with the mind". [sic]

Well, maybe for him, because in the film an army of workers are erecting his huge piece (grand morceau) behind him as he speaks into the camera. I had the image of an Egyptian Pharaoh pontificating in front of his pyramids.

Now, actually, I like some of Kapoor's work, but his dialogue is elitist and most unfortunate to say the least. One often hears this same refrain from many others in the Contemporary Art world, but its usually couched (caché) in much more subtle terms. What I find so evident is that without this human appendage, art cannot exist. While watching his pronouncements I couldn't help but think of Chopin and Van Gogh, or Delacroix and Keith Jarrett.

Ses mains étaient celles du travailleur infatigable, larges, épaisses, carées et ridées par des espèces de crevasses" Balzac, Le curé de village

(His hands were those of a laborer, untiring, huge, thick and wrinkled with deep cuts.)

I'm hardly a peasant, maybe just old fashioned.

23 November 2009

bless her heart

The weather (le temps) is turning. We have been blessed with the warmest days but as the guy who sells melons in the Aix market sings each september: All good things must come to an end! (Toute les bonne chose ont une fin!)

Tonight on the news: High school students (les lycéens) sent an anonymous letter to the principal demanding that their English teacher (prof d'Anglais) be replaced because she scolds them for using their telephones (les portables) during the class. hello?
Those interviewed outside the school (who wouldn't admit to participating) found nothing wrong with it Sacrée France!

On Antenne 2 this evening; a story about a farmer (I forget where) who hung himself in the barn (la grange) a few months ago. Like practically everywhere else in Europe, their farm has been in great financial difficulty. They had been living on 1000 euro a month for the past year. His wife has sold off the cows, tractors and remaining material. She will now look for work outside to support her three children. She still cannot go anywhere near the barn.

In the middle of the news I get a call from a friend in the States (a multi-millionaire) who laments the difficulty of making a living in the current market.(!)

Lastly on the, an item which surprised me was about a man who, in a coma, was misdiagnosed for 23 years, the doctors thinking he was brain dead. His mother, (bless her heart) knew all along that her son was conscious but the doctors would have none of it. Now, although still completely paralyzed, he writes with the aid of a nurse and a tablet keyboard (clavier). He writes practically nonstop, expressing his gratitude for finally (enfin) being able to communicate.

21 November 2009


Its saturday night and I am home in front of the piano where few bachelors (célibataires) should be I suppose. In any event, I started playing very late in life. When I was 12, I wanted to begin but I thought I was too old. In school, at 15, I wanted (desperately) to find a meaningful voice inside of me but I gave up again as I thought it was too late. My teacher, Mrs Swift wasn't unhappy with my decision. In college at 20, I (most definitely) wanted to fill my dissatisfied life. But yet again, my persistence was nonexistence. At 32, I finally said "Merde" and

I bought myself an inexpensive (bon marché) upright.

Ha Ha! Take that!....you black voice!

Its been an uphill climb ever since. I haven't worked as hard as I wish I had, but I have learned a lot about myself, and a little about Music. I have memorized some Bach, Chopin, Satie and Shumman, but really love the Standards, so I have embarked on learning Harmony which means lots of scales. I am crazy about Rogers and Hart, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and many others long forgotten. I once went out with a woman in New York who told me she was warned (en état d'alerte) by her mother that any guy who liked Show Tunes had to be gay! Ha ha!

This is Zoé playing Debussy.

19 November 2009

The Third Man Lives!

I have been playing around with small films now for a few years. I had this idea about ten years ago of sending out one minute films each day on the net. The technology was obviously (visiblement) not there yet. Amazingly (étonnamment),  today I can finally do it. (Pourvu que ça dur) As long as it lasts! This quality seems better than if I pass through YouTube so I will stick with this.

These days here are warm, weirdly warm really, but I won't complain as my fuel bill is friendlier this way. 

Tonight, on television, the show (l'émission) Envoyé Spécial. It was devoted to the pirating (le piratage) or (téléchargement illegal) of films and music. As everyone knows its killing the industry with sales sinking under the house.

Personally, I don't download any films or music which I haven't bought. Its a kind of political decision. In fact, maybe even a generational one as I like to have real objects on the shelf. As my Amazon account can attest, I buy lots of films and cd's and its probably ruining me. But I realized tonight that this phenomenon is really akin to the Warming of the Earth (le réchauffement de la planet). By consuming so many films and music illegally, everyone is guilty to one degree or another, of killing the art filmaking, and the creating of music. 

In fact, like our tuna, we are loving  them to death.

18 November 2009


                               38 X 24 cm

I brought this painting downstairs about two weeks ago. Its very small but there is something in it which appeals to me. It takes me so long to finish these things. If it survives for a month or so of me looking at it downstairs then I know its OK.

Weather, unusually (particulièrement) warm here. I have been troubled (dérangé) all day long by an item in the news. A video from China of a group of people dining on a half cooked fish which is still very much alive. One can hear them laughing as they poke (pique) and prod at its head with their chopsticks (baguettes). They then dig into its body pulling meat off of it. It has apparently been deep-fried from just below the head. Enduring this, the poor thing is gasping for life, its head shifting left and right... its eyes: alive

I am sorry, but it is one of the worst things (pire des choses) which I have ever seen in my whole life. Its enough to turn me into a bigot.

16 November 2009


On the news this evening was a report about Antarctica which is melting (fondant) faster than ever. Its parameters are receding 30 metres each year.    

Its amazing that all of us aren't jumping out of our chairs at least twice a day. But then, our days are for just getting through sometimes. As I have recounted previously here, that if one wants to send a message, they should use Western Union. I am not one for using Art to send messages but I sense in many of my new things of this year that there is an underlying anxiety (angoisse) within them, a personal anxiety, which if I am lucky, maybe also a universal one. This small painting is hanging not far from the television, and I couldn't help but see something in it relating to the report. I don't know what really, but there is something there for me, hopefully (avec un peu de chance) for someone else as well. It may seem crazy to reveal the following thought in the face of a looming human disaster in the next 100 years but I wonder what will happen to all those beautiful Titians and Bonnards?


So, this is the happy compost this afternoon. I don't know what I would do if I lived in a city. Its been so long that I have forgotten (oublié) how one deals with wet, slurppy (onctueuse) refuse. But here in the country one plays with it.

Speaking of compost, I have a had a mind full of negative thoughts concerning an old friend. Well, in fact an ex-friend actually, as she decided that I was no longer worthy of her esteem. Its nothing romantic or anything, just that we have changed. She has gone to to the desert, and I, to the sea, so to speak. As much I rationalize it, it still burns a small hole (petit trou) in my shirt. It has been hard to learn to let go, always has, and still seems to be, despite all the evidence to the contrary. I hate to be unappreciated by a really good friend. It drives me nuts actually. On the other hand, I have a wonderful friend of 30 years (an ex-girlfriend). She told me recently that she no longer gives up on friends. Through all the baloney (la connerie) she loves them and sticks it out for the long term. 

"I mean: how many years do we have left?" she said. 

I remember really loving her when she said that over the telephone. Personally, I am still running an inventory on a few of my friends, and the funny part about it is that none of them even know it! 

I admit its immature but there it is. I am reduced (reduit) to abusing vegetable scraps.

13 November 2009


For the last few weeks I have been thinking about a remark (remarque) made by the late American painter Elizabeth Murray. In an interview somewhere she said (and I paraphrase from memory):

"Just because you, as an artist, think that your path (chemin) is the right one, it doesn't make other artists wrong"

I have contemplated that for the last few years since I came across it. Personally, I have been plagued by a pontificating (pontifier) spirit living inside of me like a untamed (non apprivoiser) dragon. Enough I say, I want to be done with it. I was mentioning it to someone the other day and she quickly said: 

"Well, you might want to think of it in another way as well: 'Just because they are right doesn't make you wrong!"

She knows me too well. But, it's this thing of criticizing others, fellow artists in fact, which can be so boring. I loathe (detester) it when I hear others do it, and yet, I am the King of Criticism, and I hate myself for being thus!

I remember watching Coltrane once, speaking in an interview, he was being asked his opinion on what fellow artists were doing, this, that, the other (patta-ti patta-ta), etc.. He was totally cool.

"Yea, Cecil's (Taylor) cool... he's doin his thing..." "Yea, Bill's (Evans) cool, he's makin it you know..."

12 November 2009

Western Union

I was in the boulangerie in town this afternoon. Unlike a Frenchman, I do not have a compulsion to eat bread each day. For them, its certainly an essential part of the meal (le repas) unconscious or not. But today I found myself in one of the two boulangeries which count. A third one, nobody I know goes into it. Anne, the owner was taking care of an older woman who had many questions. I listened and watched the scene with fascination. It went on for 5 minutes, and I am not kidding (plaisanter). Mostly I was fascinated with myself I confess. Watching me in the mirrors, and wondering to myself: How is it possible that you have such patience tonight? Normally, I would be like a thoroughbred, my hooves grinding the floor, but tonight I stood watching, and listening, as if on heroin (le cam). I must have been smitten with a rare case of intense appreciation for living in such a civilized little town where such encounters (rencontres) are frequent. A million boulangeries scattered around France, and usually the same marvelous banter and patience. I have watched Anne in action many times before. She runs a tight ship, even when lines of clients recede into the street, she is forever the friendly nun  (la soeur).

Tonight, I got a call from my friend Melanie in Paris. She was quite upset  (bouleversée) due to a problem at work (au travail). She works for a very successful woman who runs her own gallery. A tough bitch (salope), as Melanie puts it. This evening, she was chewed out  (engueulée) by  a famous 'feminist' artist who is opening in a few weeks. Especially upsetting, was that it took place in front of lots of other people as they were installing the show. Between her anger and her tears I understood that her boss stood by and watched. Ouch!

Tonight, I flicked on the television and Arte was showing a program about a  show of Feminist Art at Pompidou. Timely, I smiled. It was pretty interesting (assez interessant). All the heavyweights were showing. I don't know if its a current show or has already taken place. Its a foreign world to me but I try to stay open to it all. I couldn't  help thinking however of that expression: 

"If you want to send a message, use Western Union"

10 November 2009


An uneventful day (journée ordinaire) here at home. Tonight to Valence which is about a 50 minute drive away if one pushes it a bit. A dance performance which my friend Marie invited me to. She does much of the programing for the Theatre Le Bel Image, traveling around Europe, scouring for interesting things to bring to Valence. She invited me to come to Russia this summer for a whirlwind (comme une tornade) trip to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk and I forget where else. The truth is that I was afraid (peur) of flying on all those crazy old Russian jets. Ha Ha. I missed out on the pretty blonde and blued girls of Minsk, so she told me after her return.

On this evening, was a piece called Hanami by Gaetano Battezzato and his troupe TEATRI DEL VENETO. I liked it very much. It was, of course, very abstract like most Contemporary Dance today. This is the café for the theatre pictured above. Below are some of the upcoming events (prochainement) which I zipped quickly with a cell phone. I was impressed by their graphic.

09 November 2009

cordless and the third man!

I was in Nice this past weekend. I went to hang around with other ex-drinkers who had come from other countries to attend meetings, have a few laughs together and share some wisdom about living in the NOW. Many of the visitors came from England. There's a lot of drinking going on up there, but fortunately (heureusement), there's lot of good sobriety too. Most everybody stayed in a posh hotel overlooking the Promenade des Anglais which is a far cry from where most of these same people used to sleep, having listened to their stories. Not just a few of them ended up on the streets full time. Myself, I never ended up on the streets, but I still haven't ended up in a posh hotel either. I stayed in a budget hotel, a small, but comfortable place on the rue Gounod several streets in from the sea. It got rave reviews on a hotel booking site somewhere on the internet. I have become a sucker (jobard) for reading reviews for everything from vacuum cleaners to cordless (sans fil) drills. Its kind of ridiculous (ridicule), but absolutely practical, and deadly serious for someone who lives deep in the countryside. 

I walked a lot while in Nice. At night many of the streets are all lit up, too much really, these are really bright avenues. But I had read that Nice has a crime problem, so I guess it makes sense. There were lots of working girls, mostly from East Europe from what I could tell. They loitered (rôdée alentour) the backs streets and spoke in low voices. At one point I saw a trio of them get shouted at by a drunk (ivrogne) in a dark alcove. He was a greasy (graisseux) type with black soiled leather jacket and shiny disheveled hair. The girls laughed at him which made him even angrier. I didn't linger, and they paid no attention to me. Not but a few short blocks away did I come across the mattress (pictured above) in front of an expensive looking property. Either a work of Art, or an accessory (accessoire) for the girls down the street. Hard to know what's what these days.

At the Musee d'Art Contemporain in Nice, I saw lots of works by artists for whom I have never had a great affinity (affinité), notably Niki Saint Phalle and Yves Klein. Surprise! I liked several paintings from the former, but still don't understand the latter. But I'm glad I went though, because I did see, as I usually do, many things which please and surprise me. Everywhere I visit, I go to museums. They are the only places where I feel completely at home. 

I liked this very much. I didn't see who did it but I think its a portrait of Little Richard.

I also like this because its how I often feel. All the small squares (carré) on the grid lines are pieces of toast. Looks like a poor drunk trying to sleep on a subway grill, seen from high above. Kind of looks like a Sealy Posturepedic mattress, come to think of it. By the way, Sealy mattresses get fairly good reviews.

04 November 2009


Today to the pottery studio where I haven't been in several months. It was tricky (délicat) getting back to work. About two years ago, I began decorating bowls (bols) and plates. They started to sell so I did more and more. Now I have a small line of work which I peddle here and there (ici et là).

I made a series of forlorn (délaissé) looking elephants with long weird (bizarre)  trunks. It doesn't always work but I have learned to just keep going forward no matter what. This whole project stabs my perfectionist demeanor which thrills the little guy living deep inside me. He has been suffocating under the weight  of an outmoded system (dépassé) all his small life. Its been a marvelous way to break free of so many crippling mental habits (habitudes) developed when I was very young.

On television have been several documentaries devoted to the fall of the Berlin Wall (La chute du mur)  which will celebrate 20 years in a few days time. I think its the great metaphor of the 20th century. I confess to feeling tears (les larmes) slip down my cheeks (joues) as I watched so many images of a people who demanded (exigé) their own freedom, and, who forced it to happen. I don't know why but it really affects me.

03 November 2009

nose (Cyrano)

Tonight, to dinner at my friend Joyce. She and her husband bought a chateau two years ago. Its perched (perché) atop a small hamlet of houses not far from Crest here in the Drôme. He is often away on business (les affaires) but she loves it so much there that she stays at home to paint, among many other things. She is currently finishing a portrait of the mason's wife (le maçon) who enlarged (élargi) one of her many windows. Apparently, he liked her work so much that he asked to make a trade (un troc): 

his work on her window for her portrait of his wife. 

I saw it tonight and I imagined that any stonemason would find it a fine thing to hang (accroché) in his home. She came to sit several times, then did the cleaning as she is also the housekeeper. This is a much nicer job description than (femme de ménage).  The portrait is well done with an emphasis on likeness, which I thought successful from what I could see from a few photos which she had left Joyce. 

Joyce has acquired two dogs from a neighbor's son. The fellow had died and the son couldn't keep the dogs. These are hunting dogs (chiens de chasse) which have only known life from inside of a steel (acier) cage. To say they are timid would be a great understatement. When I am present they spend all their time hiding behind chairs. Unfortunately for me, it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that my nose (mon nez) goes ballistic around most dogs for I have an allergy to many animals, furry (poilu), and otherwise. Its been that way since I was a kid. One day, from elementary school, I was sent to the hospital because my face had swelled (gonflé) up like a grapefruit. My mother was called to pick me, and she dutifully showed up at the hospital. The doctor (médecin) said quite simply that I could not, should not, under any circumstances be around animals. This was a tough call for my mother, as she had about twenty dogs, most of which were kept in the back kennel. She was quite attached to the idea of having dogs. The lucky ones (les fortunés) lived in the house. But she nodded to the doctor and we left the hospital. No sooner had the car found its way out of the grounds when my mother said:

"Tough luck kid (tant pis), you better get used to it, because the dogs aren't going anywhere."

Poor nose! (pauvre nez!). Alas! (helas!),,,, If only Cyrano had been there to defend me!

02 November 2009


I drove to Valréas this late afternoon. For parts of the way, the road was filled with autumnal confetti (confettis d'automne) as if a wedding party had lasted 22 kilometers. I had decided to go to the gym (gymnase) because I was feeling blue (bleu). Its one of several tricks I play on myself to change my mind. Sometimes its a long walk in the woods (le forêt), at others, just a good book, but today it was the gym which is a twenty minute drive. Its a beautiful road which winds through a set of valleys then opens up (ouvre) and one can see all the way to the Mont Ventoux which devours lots of bicycle enthusiasts each summer. To the west are the hills of the Ardêche which turn violet towards the end of the day, in any season. At the gym, in the toilette (unisex) there are several printed messages scotched to the wall above, they read:

"Puisque vous ne pouvez pas vous comporter comme les adults, le chewing-gum est formellement interdit dans le gymnase!"

(Because you cannot behave like adults chewing gum is now formally forbidden in the gym!)

That was pretty clear but the next one took me for a short spin in my brain:

"Ne faites pas ici ce que vous ne faites pas chez vous!"

(Do not do here what you do not do at home!)

it was signed on the bottom right:   Céline     

Now (Or), was it because I had just seen an old interview with him on television that I thought Céline wrote this?

Ha Ha!

Driving home a large full moon (la lune) greeted me. My blues (coup de cafard) hadn't quite left me but then on the radio came the op 118 intermezzo of Brahms, and I kind of melted (fondu) all the way home.

01 November 2009


Somehow, the dying (mourante) leaves of the fig tree make me think of Cinderella. I have no idea why. They are turning a kind of golden (dorée) citron color but many of the leaves have already fallen. The very last figs look succulent (savoureuse) but lack much taste. I eat them dutifully as if out of loyalty (fidélité) more than anything else, except perhaps to prolong the summer-like days which rest in my imagination. Like a child, I seem to want to prolong everything which pleases me. Its always been that way. I still wear shorts when it is already too cold to do so. The townspeople look at me with surprise when I do my errands. I sleep with the doors wide open as if waiting for the moon to arrive for a friendly chat each night (tête-à-tête). 

Today was the New York City Marathon. I ran it 5 times, and still marvel at the force of my memory (souvenir). It was almost twenty years ago that I ran  my first one. Right now, its 22:25 in France, I think of all those runners coming in at 4:25 pm in Central Park which is now an ocean of physical activity, a zoo of bodies. Each year on the first Sunday of November I think about it no matter where I am in the world. I stop my life for a few hours out of loyalty for a memory. I reminisce (évoquant ce souvenir) those increasingly long and hard kilometers at the end of the race; the incredible relief when it was over. I would make my way home and jump in the bathtub (baignoire). Later, I would take friends out for sushi. It was a ritual. By 10 pm, we would have been drinking lots of sake. I would be tired, but happy, wishing to prolong the evening but quietly taking care of the check, then sneaking out (m'éclipsant) into the city night and wishing for a pumpkin carriage to whisk me (escamote) home with great speed.