That’s right, we snuck out, we made the break. After a year and a month of intense effort and mind-scrambling days that turned into weeks then turned into a year and a month, Claud and I called a timeout. We were tired. Not tired of what we were doing or why we were doing it, but the kind of tired that makes it hard to concentrate. I had to set the alarm for the first time just to be sure I did not oversleep.
As a gift to Claudia (and myself for sure) I rented an apartment in the Marias section of Paris, a neighborhood with which we are well familiar, but absent from for a while. I did this a few months ago on a day when I found myself standing at the front door of Republic and not being able to remember what day of the week it was. I had to look at the Boston Globe in my hand for the date. We needed a break.
We left on a Saturday night and a horrid travel experience (now the norm) got us 3,500 miles away. Paris is not OZ, but it’s not Elm Street for sure. Since we are not beach or island types, Claud and I tend to plant ourselves in the middle of big cities and for some reason it seems to calm us. Vast open spaces, quiet woods and long vistas tend to creep me out.
Given the fact that this was our 5th visit, here was the plan: If we saw a crowd we went the other way. If it was in the guide books we stayed away and if the waiter greeted us in English we ran away.
We treated Paris as if it was a unique cruise ship. We woke late, walked familiar streets (miles a day), sat in remembered cafes, read, sketched, photographed, found each other again and recharged.
Late Tuesday night, back from dinner and gazing out the floor to ceiling windows onto the lit streets Claudia, writing in her travel diary asked the date. We both then realized that Monday was our 28th wedding anniversary! Sorry, we both said to each other, but we knew it was not forgetfulness but distraction that was the cause.
This Blog is not about our trip, but a warning and a notice to myself and friends that busy is good: Focus, effort and goals achieved are good, but life is better. You and I must slow down and see it as it passes. How trite and cliche you may say and, given other circumstances, I would be the first to concur, but being so mentally drained that an important bench mark was not just forgotten, but not even noticed, is indeed telling.
The first year of any start up venture demands total commitment and singular focus. We knew that from experience and made the decision to follow through. You, our guests and friends, have responded with your patronage, support and friendship and we would have not traded this year for any other, but if any person is to keep an enterprise sharp so must he or she be.
Take the time that is given to you to re-humanize. If it means sipping colored cocktails with little umbrellas while sitting in an inner tube in a luxurious pool or swaying in a hammock between two enourmous green trees or drinking a large barley beverage behind third base at Fenway or reading a book in your favorite chair or even chasing a foolish white ball though singularly greenish grass, do it.
We are back and ready and as the weather warms and life returns again to New England, I hope to bring some of what I Iearned while slaving away dining at Petite Marche’, Boujoulais Rotisserie and Les Philosophes Cafe. It was spring in Paris and will soon be here as well. Watch for its gifts on my blackboard but do not be surprised if on occasion I am not there. Every once and a while Claud and I may take a day or two and re-charge. Two days is not long enough for Paris, but it may be just ” long enough”.
And thanks to everyone who voted in the Hippo Press Best of 2011. It was a masacree!
See you soon,