Ghost Town

Cheesus Crust, I pity the tourists in Paris this summer. We had about a week or two of real summer weather in July, and then it all went downhill from there. Last weekend it rained for two days straight, alternating between drenching rain and piss-rain. Lila was glued to the window, tapping it and shouting, wondering why she couldn’t go to the park for her daily pigeon-chasing and sand-eating activities. I lounged on the couch and pretended that it was a Manila thunderstorm outside. It was pretty believable.

So in mid-August, the weather has thrown us for a loop. But obviously it has pushed Parisians to flee the capital in search of warmer temps. Paris in summer, if you’re staying in Paris of course, can be calming and eerie at the same time. Walking along the streets, you see announcements taped to shop windows, declaring their reopening dates.  It’s a ghost town. Your favourite boulangerie is closed, as well as the dry cleaners and the brasseries. Grocery stores are still open, but lines are shockingly nonexistent, so the tellers have time to shoot the breeze with you.

The usual suspects at our park are gone as well. Biscuit Benjamin, a kid who sprays you with biscuit he is eternally munching on as he engages you in not-so-witty conversation, has been missing in action for the past week, as well as Serious Sophie (who never laughs, obviously). The members of the Tricheur* Gang have dwindled to two from the usual eight (their game of Touch Ball always ends up with one of them bawling “Tricheur!* T’es un tricheur! Waaaah!”) and I really miss Jackpot Josef, who practises his breakdancing in the sandpit (not very clever, but the younger kids always stand around and watch him in awe).

Hopefully the temps rise in the coming days. This morning it was cold and windy but dry, so I got Lila dressed, plopped her into her pushcar and made a little tour of the park. It was short-lived as it was colder than I thought, but I could see that it made her happy, being outside again. In the coming weeks, Parisians will make their way back to the city, store windows will change their displays from summer to fall, and children will swarm the park once again to make the most of the remaining days of this year’s summer – the summer that never really was.

*Tricheur = Cheater

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